A few years ago, Family Services of Greater Houston hit on a good idea for its annual "Una Notte in Italia" fundraiser: A fashion show featuring male celebrity models.
It was a big hit and has been ever since. So why mess with a good thing?
Wisely, organizers kept what works, with a rollicking fashion show Saturday night at the InterContinental hotel featuring a hit parade of Houston men in sharp suits from Festari for Men.
Debbie Festari, the evening's honorary chairwoman, and Bob Boudreaux kept a running commentary as the men worked the runway -- some more confidently than others.
Among the naturals: Jeweler Franco Valobra twirled strands of pearls and threw several to his favorites in the audience; ballroom dancing champion Lester Smith shed his jacket and did a lively salsa down the runway; Domenico Luciano, principal dancer for Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre, performed a few Michael Jackson moves.
The audience of 500 whooped and hollered for their favorites. Several were showered with money and silly string.
At the end, the disco hit, "It's Raining Men" blared on the stereo system as Meredith Cullen, Inaki Orozco, Humberto Quintero, Monsour Taghdisi, Christoper Mendel, Sten Gustafson, Dr. Michael Brown, Charles Reimer and other models made one last runway walk to wild applause. Afterwards the balroom was transformed into a late night disco and tequila bar.
Seen in the crowd: Millette and Haag Sherman, Melissa and Michael Mithoff, Courtney and Bo Hopson, Ericka and Jeff Bagwell, Suzanne and Paul Getty, and Veronica and Michael Roa.
Co-chairs Rachel Brown and Robin Reimer were thrilled that the event raised more than $350,000.