This year marks the silver anniversary for The Social Book, the comprehensive calendar of Houston's fundraising events, and more than 600 guests turned out to mark the occasion late last month for this year's launch party. The party took place at (and was co-hosted by) Neiman Marcus, which celebrates an anniversary of its own in 2020: 50 years in the landmark Galleria building.
The leather-bound, 25th-anniversary edition of the book costs $500 for the calendar year, which includes website access and printed updates of new event listings.
Page Parkes's eponymous modeling agency—celebrating, incredibly, its 40th anniversary—also co-hosted, and Parkes was honored as one of this year's 16 "Houston Treasures." Other 2020 Treasures, all previously presented at a Dec 8 gala dinner at the C. Baldwin Hotel, include Yolanda Adams, Lauren Anderson, Penny and John Butler, Jo and Jim Furr, Monica Hartland, Bill Meek, Edna Meyer-Nelson, Malcolm Morris, Hon. Annise Parker, Dr. Peggy and Ashley Smith, and Tara and David Wuthrich. All except Parker attended the Jan 19 party, themed "En Vogue Celebrations—Marking Milestones, Houston Style."
The hundreds of revelers did just that, welcomed by The Social Book owners Scott Evans, Jeff Henry, and Sami Shbeeb, and Neiman Marcus Galleria GM Stephen Brunelle. Event coordinator Kat Creech organized the chic soirée, which took over all three floors of Neiman's after-hours.
Earlier in the evening, VIP guests mingled at a private reception in and around the in-store Mariposa Restaurant, where famed socialite and TV personality Warner Roberts—creator of the Houston Treasures Awards—introduced this year's honorees.
Guests at the main event were whimsically greeted with champagne flutes courtesy of opera-gloved arms emerging through red curtains, courtesy of Kirksey Gregg Productions, plus nibbles from DR Delicacy & Truffle Masters and tables dressed by EB Inc. Event Rentals with red and white roses from Flowers by Nino.
The party continued upstairs with food stations from Sushic, Roma, Benjy's, Local Foods and the Classic, Williams-Sonoma, and Cakes by Gina. Interior designer Kelly Gale Amen of KGA's tableau—complete with Page Parkes Texas models stripped down to their skivvies—was a hot-spot of the evening, designed to raise awareness for a series of lesser-discussed cancers (like cervical, testicular, and ovarian) with the aptly named campaign #CancerBelowtheBelt. Curious guests were invited to learn more and pose with the models for a special souvenir commemorated by photographer Bhavin Misra.
Richard Brown Music and his orchestra provided a high-energy party soundtrack. Houston DJ David Rojas collaborated with Neiman's Stacey Swift and event planner Kat Creech on the evening's fashion show, which saw Page Parkes models (including legends Lenny Matuzewski and Karen Payne, to great applause) descend the store's escalator in couture from Neiman Marcus to the sounds of music from five different decades.
And what's a party without drinks? Guests who chose to imbibe had plenty of creative options this year, from signature cocktails inspired by 360 Vodka—"The Stanley," a classic martini named for Neiman Marcus owner Stanley Marcus; "The Gatsby" a twist on a G&T to honor The Social Book, and "The Runway," a marg-style drink in honor of Page Parkes—to the commissioned ice sculpture by Reverend Butter of a giant cow with a luge that dispensed Five Farms Irish Cream Liqueur through its udders into guests' coffee.
Another constant photo-op was the six-foot drinkable art installation by Justin Garcia's Liquid N Lights, unveiled at the party: an interactive image of the iconic Kool-Aid Man created with 10,000 colorful alcoholic drink-filled pipettes, with an overall effect reminiscent of the vintage toy Lite-Brite.