Two days before Saks Fifth Avenue president Marc Metrick would cut the ribbon on the smashing new store in the Galleria, the luxury retailer joined forces with Town & Country magazine to host an oh-so-chic inaugural soirée benefiting Houston Grand Opera.
The fashionable contingent swept into the new 51Fifteen Cuisine & Cocktails, escorted to the second floor of the gleaming new emporium by glamazons in slinky black gowns, setting the high-style tone of the evening. Was this Houston or was this New York? Such was the sophisticated vibe.
Star power included party hosts Town & Country style writer Sarah Bray and Saks' chief merchant Tracy Margolies, special guest designer Erdem Moralioglu in from London, and world renowned soprano Ana Maria Martinez, who would later perform. These notables shared the spotlight with the evening's chairs Lynn Wyatt and Isabel David, both dressed in the latest Erdem, as was Bray.
None could have been more pleased with the pre-opening celebration than Saks general manager Bobby Dees. "Saks truly loves Houston," he told the gathering. "This new store and everything that we are doing is a great way to celebrate our loyalty to Houston."
51Fifteen owner Lucky Chopra beamed throughout the evening as guests heaped praise on the new restaurant design and the sleek bar that is sure to become a popular watering hole for area cognoscenti. On this night, the dining room was configured in long rectangular tables lighted by gleaming crystal candelabra, and decorated with streaming nosegays of florals in shades of green and lavender.
Chef Stefon Rishel and his team prepared the five-course meal that took a decidedly gourmet turn from the previous 51Fifteen menu. As Chopra explained, "We have a new chef and we've changed the entire menu."
Before dinner was served Martinez wowed the gathering with the "Song to the Moon" aria from Rusalka and a romantic ballad from her native Puerto Rico.
Representing HGO were Patrick Summers and Perryn Leech, HGO ball chair Donna Josey Chapman and representing the city's fashionable set were Diane Lokey Farb, Michelle and Alan Smith, Yvonne and Rufus Cormier, Nidhika and Pershant Mehta, Louisa Alzate, Tony Bradfield and Kevin Black, Mark Sullivan, and Danny David.