With millions in Van Cleef & Arpels diamonds on display and a heady crowd that could afford the rare cache of glitz, this was a black-tie dinner party to remember.
Yes, the oh-la-la factor reached stratospheric levels at the home of John and Becca Cason Thrash where the French fine jewelry house toasted the opening of its River Oaks District store. Although the jewel box officially opened several months ago, Van Cleef & Arpels saved a glorious spring night for the celebratory soirée that doubled as a fundraiser for Houston Ballet.
So important was this evening that Van Cleef creative director and CEO Nicolas Bos flew in from Paris along with fashion designer Gaspard Yurkievich, who creates the gowns worn by models for the jewelry house including the sleek evening dresses worn on this evening. Van Cleef CEO for the Americas Alain Bernard also flew in for the party as did River Oaks District developer Dene Oliver (seated next to the ever-glam Suzanne Saperstein, who recently relocated from Los Angeles to Houston.)
"We have known Becca for a very, very long time — like the whole world," Bos said, connecting the dots on the evening. "And we told each other that the day we have a sales presence in Houston, we will celebrate that together . . . And we have a whole history with the world of dance and ballet which is inspiration for us."
The party began at sunset in the formal garden beneath a bower of crape myrtles where guests including Lora and Dr. John Clemmons, Phoebe Tudor, and Nidhika and Pershant Mehta glided on the wave of evening elegance. Setting the pace for the black-tie sophistication was the hostess herself — La Becca in a stunning, gilded Naeem Khan gown.
"We at Van Cleef & Arpels thought we knew about taste and parties and philanthropy, (pause) and then we met Becca," Bernard told the gathering of 170. Indeed, she continues to set the standard for grand parties, often with a philanthropic bent. This party raised $130,000 for Houston Ballet making it a very happy night for artistic director Stanton Welch and general manager Jim Nelson.
As soon as the brief speeches and live auction were over, Becca slipped out of the figure-hugging gown and into an Alexander McQueen tunic, allowing plenty of room for indulging in the City Kitchen dinner. Guests swooned over the warm asparagus starter, the sword fish main course and the to-die-for desserts that had guests tugging at one another over the lemon tart and the pecan ball.
Among those fairly salivating over the vitrines filled with priceless diamond and gem creations were Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia, Allison and Troy Thacker, Rania Daniel, J.D. Adamson and Tony Gibson, Ceron and Todd Fiscus, Annoshea and Alan Taghdisi, Roya and Massoud Taghdisi, and Susanne Byram and Terry Verbecke.
And cutting their own glamorous swath through the scene was Duyen Hguyen with her glamazon daughters Lauren and Misha Nguyen.