If ever a gala dazzled it would be the UNICEF Audrey Hepburn Society Ball that saw the Hilton Americas-Houston ballroom sparkling on Friday night with enough jewels to pay a king's ransom. The bling was in part due to the ladies who stepped out in their finest and to Tenenbaum Classic Jewelers, which filled practically every shadow with shimmering jewels.
Providing her feisty brand of high-carat voltage to the evening was Barbara Bush, who received the Margaret Alkek Williams Humanitarian Award, and delivering star power was five-time Grammy winner Faith Hill, who wowed the black-tie crowd with a brief set. She closed her program with an acapella version of "Amazing Grace."
Hill provided fashion bling as well, wearing Lela Rose on the red carpet and changing into an embellished Andrew Gn gown for her performance.
The former first lady received high praise for her efforts in supporting literacy. U.S Fund for UNICEF president and CEO Caryl Stern, Margaret Alkek Williams and the honoree's grandson, Pierce Bush, did the honors. Displaying her penchant for sardonic humor, Barbara Bush thanked everyone for the honor and then said, "It's time for old ladies to go home. I'm 90 years old and I'm going home."
But the party continued with a live auction conducted by Stephen C. Lewis in which the strand of South Sea pearls and earrings (personally selected by Barbara Bush), compliments of Tenenbaum, went for more than $52,000. The event raised in total more than $800,000 for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
A number of ladies in the crowd had donned Tenenbaum jewels for the evening while owners Tony Bradfield and Kevin Black presented vast displays of to-die-for pieces that represented the offerings that would be made available to raffle winners.
Chairing the evening that brought in $800,000 were Nidhika and Pershant Mehta, Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia, Molly and Jim Crownover, Beth Madison and Penny and Paul Loyd. The long list of honorary chairs included Mica Mosbacher and Susan Baker, both of whom were present, and best-selling author Barbara Taylor Bradford who congratulated Bush via video.
The party did not stop with Hill's final song. Rather the night cranked into a higher gear with the after party for young professionals, that event chaired by Holly and Austin Alvis, Pierce Bush and Rachel and Sebastien Solar.
Heavy-hitters stepping out on this night included Lynn Wyatt, Faith and Lee Majors, Rose Cullen, Eileen and Kase Lawal, Hannah and Cal McNair, Yvonne and Rufus Cormier, Y. Ping Sun and David Leebron, Kelli Cohen Fein and Martin Fein, Monica and John Blaisdell, Gregg and Jo Lynn Falgout and Nancy Ames and Danny Ward.