Shelby About Town
Eva Longoria, Donna Karan and Oscar de la Renta have Houstonians on the move
What more could a girl ask for as a birthday gift than a surprise walk on the red carpet at the Grammy's? Lucinda Loya, on the arm of hubby Javier Loya, was the lucky one to stroll through the forest of photographers on Sunday night with the likes of Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber.
It was the highlight of a long birthday-weekend that began with a lunch celebration with girlfriends on Thursday at Ibiza, continued Friday night at the Avance gala at the Hilton Post Oak where the Loyas were honored and where the entire ballroom sang "Happy Birthday" to her and then climaxed on Sunday at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Actually, the trip to the Grammy's wasn't a total surprise. After all, a girl has to pack. But Javier played those cards close to his chest as long as possible. It was a night they will never forget particularly as they walked the red carpet with Eva Longoria. "It was a true experience and an unbelievable show!!" she e-mailed from LA on Monday. "I kept pinching myself and sending texts to all of my girlfriends!!!!!"
As luck would have it, they ran into their pal from New York City (the Loyas lived there for more than a year) Cameron Mathison aka Ryan Lavery on ABC's All My Children. He was taking a break from doing red carpet commentary for ABC and posed for photos with his Houston pals. (Cameron and his wife will be houseguesting with the Loyas in Aspen this summer.)
The Loyas were part of the after-party entourage at Staples Center and then met with LA producers who've been in talks with Lucinda about producing a reality show based on her interior design business. Stay tuned.
A jewel of an evening
The Rialto Room at Hotel Granduca reverberated with the lyrical Italian accents of Franco Valobra and his family when friends and customers celebrated the fifth anniversary of Valobra Jewelry & Antiques in Houston.
Joining Franco in hosting the gathering of 100 well-heeled partygoers were his mother, Giorgiana Valobra, in from the family home in Torino, Italy; his brother, Giorgio, who runs the original Valobra Jewelry in New Orleans; and their sister, Cristina, who is the principal designer for Valobra.
You might remember that Franco opened a Houston extension of the successful New Orleans enterprise after Hurricane Katrina knocked the breath out of the Crescent City.
In addition to the glorious dinner from the Granduca's Ristorante Cavour, guests were entertained by the Houston Chamber Choir for which Franco is a board member. Savoring the dinner and the music were guests including Laurie and Tracy Krohn, Deana and Larry Blackburn, Darlene and Cappy Bisso, Susan Krohn and fiance Patrick Gehm, Cathy and Giorgio Borlenghi, Carol and Dick Hunton, Joyce and Hugh Echols and more.
Dinner in the kitchen
Vicki and Paul West, proud new restaurateur planning on opening his Greatfull Taco in a few weeks, invited a few Houston Symphony friends into the kitchen of the Shepherd near Fairview eatery for a late-night supper following the Ravel concert on Friday. Heading up the guest list was symphony maestro Hans Graf and wife Margarita.
The former Sabetta Cafe chef Ricardo Palazzo-Giorgio whipped up Mediterranean specialties for the guests that included Paul's 17-year-old son, Michael West, plus Mary Lynn and Steve Marks and Loli Fernandez and a handful of students and faculty from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music including mezzo-soprano and professor Susanne Mentzer.
Palazzo-Giorgio has been fine-tuning his taco skills and divining creative versions of the dish such as beer-battered shrimp tacos and fried eggplant and artichoke tacos. The old Sabetta is undergoing something of a facelift as it transforms into the Greatfull Taco.
Big party for a big birthday
Just about everyone who enters Ellen and Steve Susman's Huntingdon aerie is swept away by the impressive collection of modern art. On Saturday night, the notable crowd was as much awed by one another as by the paintings. Such was the turnout for Steven's 70th birthday that seeing and being seen was paramount.
There were so many intriguing people to visit with — the always-fascinating Jeff Hirschberg in from D.C. to be with his steady Frann Lichtenstein; the brilliant Lois and George Stark; M.D. Anderson's soon-to-retire president Dr. John Mendelsohn and wife Anne, Best Dress Hall of Famer Julia Frankel and husband Russell, Joanne King Herring and Bobbie and Stanley Weinstein.
While City Kitchen put on a terrific spread of comfort food and fab beef tenderloin, guests seemed more interested in conversing rather than grazing. The glam crowd included Lynn Wyatt, Nancy and Lucian Morrison, Gail Gross, Janet Gurwitch with Ron Franklin, Roz and Alan Pactor, Fredericka Hunter, Lily and Charles Foster and so many more.
Sheridan and John Eddie Williams have been among a handful of Houstonians making the catwalk scene in New York in recent days — this duo as guests of Donna Karan. Sheridan is one of only seven Donna Karan Ambassadors selected from nominees across the nation, women recognized for their community involvement and philanthropy. (She was nominated by Saks Fifth Avenue.)
Top perk on the list this week was primo seating at the Donna Karan Fall 2011 Show on Monday. Sunday night, the group and DK honchos dined in the private room at Ciano, a new hotspot on East 22nd St.
From New York, Sheridan e-mails that Donna Karan has a fab new store at Crystals in Las Vegas' CityCenter. In fact, that's where she picked up her outfit for Monday's front-row perch.
Megan Sutton-Reid and Stephanie Perkins are winging their way to New York Tuesday to attend Oscar de la Renta's always-dreamy show during Fashion Week. Perkins picked up the tickets at last fall's March of Dimes Signature Chefs event.
It's a fashion challenge for Sutton-Reid who is more than five months pregnant with her second child.
Gents about town
How they ever got these four super-busy men under one roof at the same time, we aren't sure. But kudos to the Men of Distinction for pulling Fred Burns, Holcombe Crosswell, Dr. Red Duke and Marc Shapiro into River Oaks Country Club where they were introduced as honorees of the upcoming Men of Distinction May 3 benefit luncheon.
By all counts it was a successful gathering where luncheon chair John Eads and his wife, Mary, were among the heavy-hitters in attendance. Add Men of Distinction chairman David Wuthrich and wife Tara to the mix that included committee members Harry Mach, Pat Burk, Leslie Bowlin Bennett, Jess Tudor, Ed McMahon, Michael Mithoff, Steve Mach, Scott Evans and Scott Basinger.
Tricia and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst at a table for two in Tony's where they celebrated an early Valentine's dinner on Saturday. At a table next door, Irvin and Joan Schnitzer Levy lapped up a late-night supper of French toast and Tony's incredibly crisp bacon.
Spotted around the room Betty and Judge Manny Leal, Janiece Longoria and Steve Lasher, Jo Lynn and Gregg Falgout, Margaret Williams and Jim Daniel, Rose and Harry Cullen and at separate tables in the bar Karen and Mike Mayell and Georgia and Mike Foulard.