What do you get when you combine Houston’s A-listers uniting for a philanthropic cause and men wearing Festari for Men down the runway? Answer: one fabulous night.
Or, more accurately, Una Notte in Italia. The annual celebrity men's fashion show and gala was a fun-filled evening of all things Italian on Friday, November 15 at the recently renovated Omni Hotel. The highly anticipated event sold out well in advance and benefited the Houston Area Women's Center to help families affected by domestic violence.
The evening began with a cocktail reception and silent auction with drinks by sponsor Riazul Tequila. The crowd of over 600 then moved to the elegant ballroom—also Italian-themed, complete with images of Michelangelo's David—where gorgeous emcee, KPRC Channel 2's Dominique Sachse, and honorary chair Debbie Festari kicked things off by introducing event co-chairs Rachel Bagwell and Sneha Merchant. Then, the fun began as the philanthropic businessmen, doctors, realtors and athletes took to the runway for a great cause.
To the beat of their favorite tunes and dressed to the nines in Festari, the “models” each took a charming strut down the catwalk—some put on a bit of a show, even dancing in the raining confetti—as the celebratory crowd cheered them on. Kisses were blown, roses were thrown, and a few single dollar bills even found their way onto the stage in the name of entertainment.
The fashion show did not disappoint. The handsome group of models included well-known jewelers Tony Bradfield and Kevin Black of Tenenbaum Jewlers; restauranteur Ben Berg of the recently renovated The Annie Café & Bar; Pablo Delgado of Rolls Royce North Houston; Nick Merchant; cardiologist Dr. Kota Reddy; Dr. Matthew Harbison; Rick Perez, founder of Avangard Innovative; Steve Johnson; Danny Brown; James Lassiter of LassiterLaw; Bill Baldwin of Boulevard Realty; Viet Hoang, founder of Yellow Pages; Kent Schaffer; and Mike Mahlstedt, to name a few.
Big-name athletes also graced the runway, including Houston Texans Justin Reid, DJ Reader, Dylan Cole, and Cullen Gillaspia, plus the Astros' Lance McCullers and Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell, welcomed with a standing ovation.
The party continued as the crowd headed downstairs to the famous Black Swan to dance the night away and celebrate another record-breaking success. Thanks to colorful sequins, metallics, chiffon, and plenty of sparkles, the ladies’ fashion turned just as many heads as the men's on the catwalk that night. Beautiful people in the crowd included Sippi and Ajay Khurana, Melissa and Michael Mithoff, Adrienne and Jared Crane, Brigitte Kalai and Courtney Hopson, Gary Petersen, Nina and Karun Magon, Duyen and Marc Nguyen, Jennifer and Chad Pinkerton, Tony Buzbee and Francis Moody, and many more.