PARIS — For the Liaisons au Louvre Trois gala Tuesday night, host Becca Cason Thrash asked the ladies and gents to go all out — and they did. The invitation requested "extremely formal attire" and guests responded with glittery haute couture designs — some of which weighed more than a child — and impeccable tuxes.
Thrash, in a Jean Paul Gaultier haute couture sequined skirt that weighed 40 pounds, quipped, "I'm just going to stand here like the statues." Actress Milla Jovovich estimated her silver Saint Laurent gown with a thigh-high slit totaled "at least 30 pounds." While stunning, it weighed her down so much that she removed her stilettos after the first course was served to relax.
Models Olga Kurylenko, in a form-fitting pink Azzedine Alaïa fitted knit gown with a fishtail skirt, and Bianca Brandolini, in mid-calf-length blue silk and satin Dolce & Gabbana dress with white lace trim, drew the attention of European paparazzi, along with Caroline Casiraghi. The daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco wore a flowing pink and red floral off-the-shoulder gown by Giambattista Valli that fueled swirling rumors that she is pregnant. (She was seen drinking and smoking at the party, so we're guessing she's not.)
The invitation requested "extremely formal attire" and guests responded.
Gela Nash-Taylor made a high fashion statement in an Alexander McQueen gown with a tulle train that she expertly navigated through the crowd to avoid getting it stepped on too many times. "It's McQueen when McQueen was McQueen," she noted. (The designer died in 2010; Sarah Burton now designs the line.)
Others going for a high-fashion look were former Dallasite Ana Pettus in a black Givenchy haute couture gown and Tracey Amon, the stylish wife of Swiss tycoon Maurice Amon, in a navy dress by Raf Simons at Dior that rose above the knee in the front and trailed to the floor in the back. She accented the dress with an oversized jeweled pin in the shape of a lobster.
Diana Ross, who wowed the audience with a performance of her greatest hits, saw red for the occasion in a special gown. "When I saw this project, I just had to do it, so I pulled out my vintage Bob Mackie," the singer told a style.com reporter backstage after the show. "I just loved this energy here tonight."
Houston women ratcheted up the glamour quotient several notches in eye-catching gowns and stunning jewelry. Greggory Burk stood out in a deco-beaded high-neck gown from her close friend Naeem Khan's fall 2013 collection (Stacy Keibler wore a similar gown to the Oscars) while Melissa Mithoff drew admiring glances in a black-sequined gown with an exposed back, also by Khan.
Diane Lokey Farb looked red-carpet ready in an emerald Armani Privé haute couture gown accented with stunning Chopard jewels. Unlike most jewelry worn by notables at such events, her necklace and earrings weren't borrowed.
Elizabeth Petersen said she chose her contemporary coral gown with lace insets by Elie Saab for comfort. "I was going to wear a gown with a more editorial look, but I want to be able to dance."
Other Houstonians who stood out were Judith Oudt in a silver Oscar de la Renta gown, Joyce Echols in a gown of black lace (she couldn't recall the designer), Renée Lewis Cary in a bright fuchsia Oscar de la Renta gown, Sara Dodd in a J. Mendel goddess gown, Sallymoon Benz in a glittering Jovani gown accented with Bulgari jewels, Hallie Vanderhider in a burgundy Vera Wang gown, Ann Wolf in vintage Oscar de la Renta, Tami Dias in a navy Ralph Lauren gown and Caroline Starry LeBlanc in an aubergine Roland Nivelais gown.
As for the men, designers Valli and Andrew Gn both wore V-neck T-shirts under their tuxes — a much more casual look that stood out amid the impeccably cut tuxedos. Monsour Taghdisi and Henry Richardson looked dashing in Lanvin and Gucci tuxes, respectively, while Fady Armanious, in a white-and-silver Dolce & Gabbana jacket, and Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes, who accessorized his white tux shirt with a large brooch in place of a tie, proved that men can also make a fashion statement.
To see Michelle Watson's fashion photos, click on "Enlarge Slideshow" in the main photo at the top of this story.