The holiday spirit was in generous supply Thursday as supermodel and philanthropist Petra Nemcova unveiled her Be The Light line of luxury candles in Houston at a private luncheon hosted by Cakewalk Style Shop and CultureMap’s Shelby Hodge.
The coterie of VIPs, gathered at Triniti Restaurant, added pops of red to their ensembles enhancing the festive mood that had the ladies and a sprinkling of gents in high midday spirits. The flowing bubbly and Cotillion specialty drinks (Triniti's version of the Cosmo) surely added to the lively feel. But it was Nemcova, dressed in a white pantsuit, red tank and red heels who set the tone.
“Don’t leave without saying hello. I want to have a conversation with each of you,” the supermodel said.
Naturally stunning, Nemcova was also immediately engaging. Kind, intelligent and personable, the supermodel thanked the gathering for attending and took time to pose for pictures and personally sign every candle purchased.
“Don’t leave without saying hello. I want to have a conversation with each of you,” Nemcova said.
Her Be The Light candle collection certainly gives her plenty to talk about. The six-candle collection is inspired by Nemcova’s travels and countries that hold special meaning to her. The United States, Indonesia, Czechoslovakia, Spain, Mexico and Haiti are featured with scents reminiscent of each location blended into each handcrafted candle.
Nemcova proudly makes the candle collection in the United States and employs artisans to create maps on each candle. The process takes four to five days and Nemcova is attached to each candle produced.
“I am invited to so many people’s homes and they have everything, but I want to bring them a gift. I usually bring chocolates and candles because they are unisex, so I wanted to create a candle that was personal and an extension of me. Each candle has a story,” Nemcova said.
The candle collection is available at Cakewalk Style Shop on Persa Street, a coup for the cute boutique that carries Elizabeth and James, Halston Heritage, Mackage, Charmed Circle and other contemporary women’s lines.
It was also quite a coup for owners Gina Cartwright and Jennifer Grigsby to bring Nemcova to Houston, especially during the busy holiday season. But Nemcova said she was drawn to the fresh look and philosophy of their website. They connected, collaborated and in just five short weeks, created the event, launching the collection in Houston. The result was an elegant lunch inspired by the origin of the candle collection.
Chef Ryan Hildebrand started with butternut squash soup and spiced vanilla gel from Mexico, moved to brussels sprout salad and hibiscus glaze from Haiti, served for the main course salmon with saffron risotto from Spain and closed out the meal with a selection of bite-sized sweets hailing from the world collection.
Nemcova’s fervor for joy is woven into each element of her life and the feel of the event reflected her enthusiasm.
“I like to create joy,” Nemcova said. “There’s joy in building schools. There’s joy in employing artisans. There’s joy in gifting someone a gift that’s meaningful.”
The ladies-in-red sipping and lunching at the launch party included Isabel David, Kathryn Smith, Anne Carl, Lora Clemmons, Fredda Friedlander, Alicia Smith, Melissa Mithoff, Elizabeth Glanville, Debra Grierson, Divya Brown, Carla Valencia, Ursaline Hamilton, Dominique Sachse, Julie Bortnick, Allie Fields, Tena Lundquist Faust and Tama Lundquist.