With residences in New York and Rome and frequent travels internationally to the family jewelry emporiums, Nicola Bulgari is unquestionably a man of the world. So it was with some surprise that we learned that the dashing Italian is totally taken with Texas.
He was guest of honor at a Sunday night dinner in the home of long-time Bulgari family friend Christina Girard, an evening that marked the end of a week of exploring part of the state. Nicola Bulgari and Paul Jackson, Bulgari retail director, had arrived in Dallas for the opening of the store there and then followed a museum-heavy itinerary that included Austin, San Antonio, Fredericksburg and points in between. They, of course, hit every car museum along the way, Bulgari a huge car buff. (They traveled with a driver in a Cadillac Escalade, always in an American car, Jackson said.)
On the National Museum of the Pacific War (aka the Nimitz Museum) Bulgari said: "Fantastic. All these battles, I know them all." On the LBJ Ranch: "Magnificent and so beautifully kept." At the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth, he swooned over a special Caravaggio. In San Antonio, he visited the Alamo and the Texas Ranger museum.
Welcoming Bulgari were notables including Maria and Giorgio Bassa, Blaffer Gallery director Claudia Schmuckli, Molly and Jim Crownover, Sandy Parkerson, Judith Oudt, Robert Sakowitz, Valerie Sherlock and Austin O'Toole and Karen Turner-Smith, director of Bulgari in the Galleria.
While in NYC
A trio of Houstonians in New York for last week's Houston Symphony performance at Carnegie Hall were there on other business as well. Silver Eagle Distributors' Roxann Neumann, the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau's Sharon Adams and George R. Brown Convention Center GM Luther Villagomez headhuddled with Civic Entertainment Group over plans for a "Flavors of the Southwest Festival" in Houston. No date scheduled yet but the decision has been made to hold a festival celebrating the food and drink of the Southwest with activities spread across Discovery Green and in the convention center. Details as they develop.
Supporters of Houston Community College fashion and interior design programs put on their party frocks and suits last week for a high-style kick-off to the Passion for Fashion luncheon set for March 23. Robin and Charles Reimer opened their grand home for the cocktail do, where the crowd included Patsy Fourticq, Frann Lichtenstein, Kay King, Debbie Festari, Rachel Brown, Caroline Kenney and HCC Foundation director Kelly Zuniga.
CultureMap editor-in-chief Clifford Pugh will interview fashion great Dana Buchman during the fundraiser at Hotel ZaZa. Key luncheon players are chair Leisa Holland-Nelson and co-chairs Gabriela Dror and Nidhika Mehta.
Donors to Cristo Rey Jesuit, a new school aimed at raising the educational opportunities for underprivileged youngsters, were handed a swell thank-you at Tony's Saturday night when Cristo Rey Jesuit Campaign honorary chairs Archibishop Joseph Fiorenza and Trini Mendenhall Sosa hosted them to a four-course feast. While both of them spoke, it was the Rev. T.J. Martinez, Cristo Rey Jesuit president, who inspired the entire wine room of guests.
It was easy to see why Cardinal Daniel DiNardo had dubbed Martinez the "Energizer Bunny" only a few days before when he made a visit to the campus at the former site of Mt. Carmel Academy. The Jesuit priest practically bounced on his toes with enthusiasm when talking about the school and its prospect for sending kids to college.
Uber power lunching
La Griglia was packed on Monday with enough political movers and shakers to have a quorum for at least something. Count among them Port Commissioner and UT regent Janiece Longoria, Mayor Annise Parker's finance team chairman David Arpin, HISD school board trustee Greg Meyers, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's regional director Jason Fuller, Haynes & Boone partner Larry Finder, developer Larry Johnson, PR/marketing specialist Cindy Clifford and Norman Nelson, managing partner of Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson.