The Latin Women’s Initiative Luncheon is always one of the most high-energy and colorful events of the spring, raising much-needed funds for multiple charity organizations across the city. From the jam-packed marketplace to the celebratory tequila shots on the runway, Friday’s event at the Hilton Americas-Houston was certainly no exception.
The LWI luncheon celebrated its 15th anniversary with a packed ballroom of 650 guests who raised more than $250,000, with proceeds being distributed to Homemade Hope, L.I.F.E. Houston, Shoes for Kids, Small Steps Nurturing Center, University of Houston Center for Mexican American Studies, Academic Achievers Program, and Undies for Everyone. Since its inception in 2001, the LWI has provided more than $2 million of financial support to women and children in Houston’s Latino community.
Despite the serious mission of LWI, the luncheon is frothy fun, full of fashion and chatter. Mariachis greeted guests for the luncheon that just happened to fall on Cinco de Mayo (which commemorates the Mexican Army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla, not Mexican independence) and the party kept on rolling while shoppers found fashionable must-haves before heading into the ballroom.
Over a Latin-inspired lunch, the chatty crowd mixed and mingled throughout the ballroom in anticipation of the runway show featuring Cooperativa Shop’s Kris Goyri and Sandra Weil, in from Mexico City, as well as the heritage collections of Takasami’s Rosario Mendoza. Once the lights went down, the energy went up…way up, with sexy, bold looks for night and day. The occasional male model resulted in cheers and applause from the predominantly female crowd.
Before the traditional tequila toast, event organizers took a moment to wish fashion show planner extraordinaire Lenny Matuszewski a happy birthday, compliments of the mariachi band.
Emcees Univision reporter Janel Garcia and ABC13 reporter and anchor Samica Knight kept the high-energy crowd in line, while luncheon chairmen Karina Barbieri and Daisy Mendoza explained the mission of LWI. Honorary chairs Rosi F. Hernández, Patricia Herrera, Trini Mendenhall, Micheline Ferrand Newall, Cyndy Garza Roberts, Susana Brener de Stern, Ericka Bagwell, and Mary Tere Perusquia were also honored.
Spotted in the vibrant crowd were Latin Women's Initiative president Michele Leal Farah, Gloria Luna Bounds, Leticia Fallick, Jessica Rossman, Conchita Reyes, Dr. Romy Mitchell, Chree Boydstun, Fady Armanious, Hallie Vanderhider, Mari Treviño, Monica Reyna Casiano, Julie Applewhite, Lauren Soliz, and Houston City Controller Chris Brown and wife, Divya.