The family of billionaire money manager Fayez Sarofim refers to his stately white mansion on River Oaks Boulevard as the Maison Blanche. Although the patriarch hasn't lived in the house in more than a decade, it is beautifully maintained and the family uses it occasionally for entertaining on an elaborate scale.
Case in point, the recent bash that New Yorker Allison Sarofim and her beau Stuart Parr threw for a host of fashionistas in celebration of the opening of hip fashion retailer The Webster on the grounds of the Galleria.
Sarofim, a native Houstonian and daughter of the first of her father's three wives, joined The Webster owner Laure Heriard Dubreuil in welcoming not only a host of H-Town's haute fashion devotees but also a coterie of fashion and art world figures from New York. The partying began in the sleek new emporium and continued at la Maison Blanche.
"Laure and her husband Aaron (the artist Aaron Young), we're all great friends in New York," Sarofim said. "I'm just so excited that Laure found a new home in Houston. I think it's great. Dallas usually gets the stores and here we are, we succeeded."
Guests arriving at the Sarofim home were escorted to the immense party room, an addition at the back of the house, where they were greeted by waiters proffering Corona long necks and margaritas. Mariachis played on the terrace over-looking the oak-shrouded swimming pool while at the opposite end of the terrace staff from City Kitchen served assorted make-it-yourself tacos.
"We thought it would be great to give Laure (a Parisian) a Texas welcome," Sarofim said. "So we have tacos and mariachis and margaritas."
The guest list at the house expanded from the store opening with the arrival of Courtney and Christopher Sarofim (Allison's brother), Laura Arnold, Aliyya Stude, and Laurie and Reed Morian among them.
"It's been really great fun to mix our New York friends with our Houston friends," the hostess said. "I think it's a great mix of New York design people." That list included noted interiors stylist Carlos Mota, designer Adam Lippes, the Tome designers Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin, stylist Kate Foley, British model and DJ Harley Viera Newton, and jewelry designer Monique Pean.
Houstonians making the invitation cut included Diane Lokey Farb and Becca Cason Thrash, who set the fashion high note in a long dress by Jonathan Saunders and jacket by Isabel Marant.
As for the party house, Sarofim noted, "It's a wonderful venue for a party and he (Fayez Sarofim) so graciously lets us use it."