Shelby About Town
Big change at Chanel, partying at Neiman's, viewing America's Got Talent &another mysterious Sandra Bullock sighting
Read it and weep. The much-admired Eleanor Conan, a constant in the city's haute fashion scene for several decades, has retired. The woman who headed the Chanel boutique in the Galleria since the boutique's opening in 1998 has quietly stepped aside.
But it was no overly-quiet celebration at Hotel Granduca Saturday night when she and friends celebrated her birthday as well as her next chapter. With hubby Andre Conan and dinner co-hosts Zohra Constantino and Frances and Dr. Don Baxter at her side, Eleanor welcomed a host of long-time friends. In the mix were Fran Fawcett Peterson, Diane and Harry Gendel,Michael Constatino, Bette and Trent Campbell and family members.
Chanel lured Eleanor away from Saks Fifth Avenue, where she had moved after spending 13 years at Neiman Marcus. Although her retirement has been in the works for some months, Chanel has yet to name a successor.
Birthdaying at Neiman's
It might have been the first day of the tax-free weekend but the ladies who arrived at the Galleria on Friday to lunch didn't have mere $100 items in mind. They were there to celebrate Jennifer Brown's birthday at a private fashion fete that she and hubby Chris Brown had won as high bidders at the Society for the Performing Arts' Mad Men Gala, held last spring.
The "Ladies Who Lunch" package was transformed into a birthday bash for 30 of her nearest and dearest. The celebration included informal modeling of designs by J. Mendel, Fendi and Chanel and jewels by David Yurman. And the party favors were gift bags from Chanel, in honor of the fact that Coco Chanel and Jennifer share the same birthday.
Joining the party were the United Way's Anne Neeson, community leader Phoebe Tudor and Teach for America's Aisha Crumbine plusKelli Little, Kristy Montgomery, Holly Weiss, Jennifer Brown, Valerie Villarreal and Sara Swaggerty.
A head start on fall partying
The Wynden, a new event space in the old Masraff's restaurant location, was party central last week when Friends of the Stehlin Foundation gathered there to stir up interest in the Nov. 19 gala at the Westin Galleria Hotel where Grammy-winner Lee Ann Womack will headline.
Among those gearing up for the 31st Stehlin gala were Sally and Bobby Anderson, Ashley Anderson, Colleen Colton, Nancy Riviere, Tamara and Harrison Bibb, Becca and Philip Weigand, Donna and Norman Lewis, Judy and Gary Gondzur, Dianne and Ken Anderson, Phyllis Childress and Jennifer and Matt Winter.
Viewing party in Nassau Bay
Mediterraneo Market & Café will be rocking tonight when Sonia and Magdy Kotb hold a viewing party for the semifinals of America's Got Talent. You might remember that their daughter, Miral Kotb, and her iLuminate group have been advancing along the talent search throughout the summer.
Tonight, the Clear Lake High School grad and Columbia University computer science whiz and her team who, according to Magdy have been "working so hard to present a better performance to meet the expectation of all their fans," test their talents once again on the popular NBC program.
Art meets fashion
Neiman Marcus got a jump-start on the advancing art-focused social scene with a fall trend preview party last week that embraced the upcoming Houston Fine Art Fair. Fair director Fran Kaufman jetted in from New York to provide artful insights to the runway fashions shown in the couture salon to 100 eager fashionistas. Artworks to be featured at the George R. Brown during the Sept. 16-18 art fair served as backdrop to the fall fashions.
Among guests heading home with sweet party favors, bottles of Prada Candy fragrance, were associate art fair producer Ilana Vardy (founder of Art Chicago and director of Art Miami), Carolyn Farb, Deborah Colton, Judy Nyquist, Victoria Lightman, Janet Hobby, Barbara Davis, Patrick Russey and Neiman's GM Bob Devlin.
Jeff Bagwell with pals Debbie and Rudy Festari and a few others joining the throng at the new Coppa on Washington Avenue where Michael Loya, Leti Morales, William Betts, Kara Rockefeller and Rebekah Johnson partied at another table . . .
ABC Ch. 13 news anchor Gina Gaston and hubby Mario Elie lunching with three youngsters at Trattoria Il Mulino in the Westin Hotel at Memorial City . . .
Ramona Singer of Real Housewives of New York City, in town to promote her Pinot Grigio, dining at Brasserie 19 where it's been reported that Six Million Dollar ManLee Majors has been spotted on more than one occasion and where there was an unconfirmed sighting of Sandra Bullock . . .
Actor Chin Han checking out of Hotel Sorella after overnighting in H-town for a photo shoot with Houston-based Yellow Magazine. You might remember him as Lau in The Dark Knight Batman film. He appears in two new releases — Contagion with Laurence Fishburne, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow and in Gus Van Sant’sRestless . . .
Theta Charity Antiques Show chair Susan Martin joining Linda Gale White, Shara Fryer, Nancy Ames and Beth Sanders Moore at La Griglia to talk up the "Texas First Families: Reunion and Reminiscence" luncheon set for Nov. 19 as part of the antique show activities. Beth and Phoebe Tudor, both Theta alumns, chair the luncheon focusing on the governor's mansion.