Three hundred glammed-out guests.
Solange Knowles spinning for one night.
Welcome to Monday night in Houston.
Although Miu Miu opened for business just in time for holiday shopping, the store hadn’t celebrated its debut — until now. The playful Italian brand hosted the cocktail party honoring Houston Ballet Barre, the ballet’s young professional organization, and the result was a tightly packed, high-energy scene.
Knowles was also wearing Miu Miu (spring 2012) and played everything from Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston to The Cure and Britney Spears.
Minty green damask walls were the perfect backdrop for the sparkling shoes and satin bags, but it was the party guests who made the biggest statement.
Chairmen Kristy Bradshaw, Lindsey Brown, Greggory Burk, Courtney Hopson, Elizabeth Petersen and Beth Zdeblick hosted the fete that drew a mix of ballet dancers, fashion followers and Ballet Barre supporters. It made sense that the crowd skewed young, since Miu Miu is often called the younger sister of Prada, located just a few doors down at The Galleria.
Soloist Jaquel Andrews was among the Houston Ballet Dancers in the mix and says the connection between Miu Miu and Ballet Barre is a good fit for both.
“Miu Miu specifically wanted to reach out to the younger audience and Ballet Barre is a group of young professionals who have a group to belong to and ask questions about ballet,” Andrews said. Dressed in a black lace Miu Miu frock and turquoise strappy heels, Andrews had the fun of choosing her look from a rolling rack of Miu Miu goodies.
Knowles was also wearing Miu Miu (spring 2012) and played everything from Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston to The Cure and Britney Spears. Her crown of braids showed off her beautiful features and once her handlers were convinced reporters wouldn’t ask about you-know-who, Knowles was a delight, and happy to be in Houston, even for one night.
“I’m a big fan of Miu Miu and went to curated conversations they held in New York. We talked about doing things together and when they asked about this party I said any reason to go home was reason enough,” Solange said.
Her 2008’s Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams album was a throwback to '60s Motown sounds a la Diana Ross, but she says her new album will have a different feel when it’s released in late spring.
“I’ve been working on it for the past two years, but I also opened up for Gladys Knight and those were some pretty big shoes to fill. I’ve progressed to a different era with this one and moved into the '90s,” Solange said.
She lets the room dictate what music she plays and Houston, she said, is pretty "go-with-the-flow" when it comes to party tunes. The local crowd is also about connecting with each other for good causes, and that was evident by the way Burk reached out to a longtime friend from Southern Methodist University who now works with Miu Miu on behalf of this year’s Ballet Ball. She secured $25,000 for the gala and a portion of the Miu Miu cocktail party proceeds benefit Ballet Barre. Burk said she likes the connection because “Miu Miu has this young and really cool vibe.”
Executive vice president of marketing, PR and communications Prada USA Matteo Sessa Vitali in from New York, said the new Miu Miu boutique is very special.
“It’s a combination of the traditional wall coverings and modern fixtures. It’s rich and sophisticated, but what really stands out is the product,” Vitali said.
Standouts in the crowd included Jo and Jim Furr, Greggory Burk, Kristy and Chris Bradshaw, Lindsey and Guy Brown, Elizabeth Petersen, Sharon Erskine and Beth Muecke. Dancers modeling Miu Miu included Aria Alekzander, Jaquel Andrews, Sadie Elliot, Amy Fote, Karina Gonzalez, Nao Kusuzaki and Danielle Rowe.