The Social Book marked the 25th year of publishing its comprehensive calendar of Houston fundraising events with a fashionable soiree co-hosted by Neiman Marcus (in the 50th year at its landmark building) and talent agency Page Parkes Texas (40th anniversary).
The Social Book‘s owners Scott Evans, Jeff Henry, and Sami Shbeeb and Neiman Marcus Galleria general manager Stephen Brunelle welcomed more than 600 guests for "En Vogue Celebrations ─ Marking Milestones Houston Style." The Social Book partnered with renowned event coordinator Kat Creech and her company Kat Creech Events for a chic and stylish night filled with food, song, and socializing.
VIP guests gathered prior to the main event for a private reception inside and outside Neiman Marcus’ Mariposa Restaurant to welcome sponsors and to introduce The Social Book’s 2020 “Houston Treasures” honorees, which were introduced on-stage by celebrity socialite and television personality Warner Roberts, creator of the “Houston Treasures" Awards. Guests nibbled on hors d'oeuvres by Mariposa, sipped estate wines by Cuvaison and Brandlin, and enjoyed Richard Brown Music's string quartet playing romantic selections. 360 AV Design produced the VIP experience light, sound and video.
The 2020 “Houston Treasures” honorees, previously presented at a gala dinner on December 8, 2019 at C. Baldwin Hotel are: Yolanda Adams, Lauren Anderson, Penny and John Butler, Jo and Jim Furr, Monica Hartland, Bill Meek, Edna Meyer-Nelson, Malcolm Morris, Honorable Annise Parker, Page Parkes, Dr. Peggy Smith and Mr. Ashley Smith, and Tara and David Wuthrich.
Meanwhile, guests arriving for the main event were greeted by red opera-gloved arms emerging through red curtains offering flutes of champagne — a whimsical Kirksey Gregg Productions production. Partygoers' first luscious morsels were truffled cuisine from DR Delicacy & Truffle Masters. Tables beautifully dressed by EB Inc. Event Rentals were graced with red and white roses arranged by Flowers by Nino.
Live dance music drew partiers to the second floor Couture area, where the festivities amped up. Food stations from Sushic, Roma, Benjy’s, Local Foods & The Classic, Williams-Sonoma and Cakes by Gina were complemented by silver, gold and ruby linens from EB, Inc. Event Rentals and topped with red/white long-stemmed roses with silver and gold leaves.
Renowned interior designer Kelly Gale Amen of KGA created a stunning tableau to raise testicular cancer awareness, featuring textile art and decorator pillows. His campaign, named #CancerBelowtheBelt, earned guests' attention, and photographer Bhavin Misra and models from Page Parkes Texas offered fun-lovers a souvenir.
Local firm, 360 AV Design, showcased the event participants and photos of Houston Treasures honorees on beautifully designed and edited videos throughout the party. The company's technology also was responsible for the aforementioned music amplification, as well as dramatic staging and lighting excellence throughout the event.
As always, the inimitable Richard Brown Music and his orchestra played all evening and gave guests a vast array of musical styles. DJ David Rojas, new to Houston's social scene, collaborated with Neiman’s Stacey Swift and event producer Kat Creech to create a fashion show that showcased not only the amazing clothes from this iconic store but also celebrated 40 years of Page Parkes’ models (which included modeling legends Lenny Matuzewski and Karen Payne). To the sounds of music from the five decades, the models descended the escalator in groups from those different decades for a loop around the second floor and then back up. The 15-minute fashion extravaganza ended with cheers and a standing ovation.
The Social Book was proud to unveil a new “must have” for social events: #LIQUID_N_LIGHTS, a pop- up interactive artistic studio, complete with lights and alcoholic drinks inside pipettes placed strategically to create a painting, logo or other graphic image. Artist Justin Garcia creates paintings, customized for an event or from his own creativity, that blend seamlessly into any event, employing a concept reminiscent of the 1960’s toy “Lite-Brite.” His team creates cocktails poured into 3” long, colored pipettes that are placed into the back-lit "screen" to create the image. A 6-ft. square design, like the iconic “Kool-Aid Man” at this event, contains approximately 10,000 drink-filled pipettes.
Wines and bubbly courtesy of The Social Book were a hit. 360 Vodka served its top-shelf eco-friendly traditional product, their soon-to-be-released Pineapple, as well as favorite flavors Peach, Lime, Vanilla and Double Chocolate. 360's award-winning vodka inspired the creation of the signature cocktail called “The Stanley,” a classic martini, which honored Neiman Marcus owner Stanley Marcus. “The Gatsby,” a kicked-up Broker’s Gin & Tonic, honored The Social Book and “The Runway,” a classic Margarita-style blend, honored Page Parkes, and was enhanced with Hussong’s Tequila.
Ron Rio Rum, Triple Crown Whiskey, Hudson Baby Bourbon, Glenfiddich and Monkey Shoulder Scotch rounded out the bar offerings. Faust Distributing's nods to the event theme were anniversary editions of its Heineken, Miller Lite, Dos Equis, Peroni (an Italian beer) and Texas-themed craft beers.
Five Farms Irish Cream Liqueur Coffee Bar was another highly prized area. Five Farms teamed with ice sculptor Reverend Butter to commission a large ice carving of a cow that contained a luge. The liqueur was poured through an opening in the top of the cow and the cream liqueur was dispensed through the cow’s udder into the guest’s coffee.
Notables in attendance included: Stephen Brunelle (Neiman Marcus GM), Margaret Alkek Williams, Frann Lichtenstein, Molly Crownover, Andy Delery, Dr. Carolyn Farb, Brooks Ballard, Walter Aymen, Carol and Dr. Tom Sawyer, Betty and John Hrncir, Yvonne and Rufus Cormier, Carolyn Faulk, Cliff and Angie Roberts, Elsie and Les Eckert, Judy Pryor Otto, Bill King, Hallie Vanderhider, Leisa Holland-Nelson and Bob Bowman, Vicki Rizzo, Mary Ann and David McKeithan, Gigi Huang, Merele Yarborough, Sharon Michael Owens, Gayla Gardner, Alan and Roz Pactor, The Honorable George Strake and Annette Strake, Linda Lorelle and Lou Gregory, Brittany Zucker, Stuart Rosenberg and Jose Ocque, Nino Shbeeb, Pam Lockard, Curry Glassell and Nate Glassell, Denman and Marijo Moody, Neal Hamil, Jerri Duddlesten Moore, Diane Kingshill, Diane and Harry Gendel, Karen Henry, Fran Fauntleroy, Bill Stubbs, Sharon Staley, Linda Kuykendall, Lenny Matuzewski and Michael Bickham, Rebekah Johnson, Milton Townsend, Shannon Hall, Adrian Dueñas and Marcelo Saenz, and others.