Ally Shell Van Koolwijk and her friends cheer on her husband Martijn on the runway.
Rudy & Debbie Festari
Sippi & Ajay Khurana with their son Shaan
Kerris Crier, Andre Hal
Rachel & Jeff Bagwell
Brigitte & Bashar Kalai
Houston Texans Whitney Mercilus on the runway
Melissa Mithoff, Lucinda Loya
Sneha & Nick Merchant
Vivian Wise, Joanne King Herring
Kendra Smith, Rob & Donae Chramosta
Neil Hamil, Diane Lokey Farb
Ally & Martijn Van Koolwijk
Lisa & Blu Whipple
Shafiz, Shelby & Rudy Festari
A sure sign of a successful fashion event is a runway strewn with confetti, rose petals and $100 bills (faux, of course). And so it was when Debbie and Rudy Festari reprised their wildly popular “Una Notte in Italia” men’s fashion extravaganza at the Royal Sonesta Hotel.
Typically an over-the-top energized evening of sports stars and business moguls, the latest edition did not disappoint, particularly with MLB Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell strolling the catwalk only hours after riding in the Astros World Series parade. A standing ovation and Minute Maid Park-worthy cheers erupted in his honor. Second only to Bagwell on the receiving end of cheers was injured Houston Texans star Whitney Mercilus. Retired Houston Rocket Mario Elie fared well with the cheering quotient as well.
Sippi Khurana and Kendra Smith chaired the dressy affair that packed the hotel ballroom with more than 600 guests who contributed to the night’s proceeds of more than $320,000, earmarked for the Houston Area Women’s Center. KPRC Channel 2’s glam news anchor Dominique Sachse once again served as emcee of the evening, sharing duties at the microphone with her KPRC cohort newsman Andy Cerota, who handled live auction duties.
Among the several dozen gents sporting fashions from Festari for Men were Ajay Khurana, Dr. Roland Maldonado, Dean Putterman, Blu Whipple, Nick Merchant, Duke Ensell, Kiki Dikmen, Martijn Von Kookwijk and restaurateur Sam Governale, who made a donation to the live auction of a dinner party at his highly-anticipated new restaurant Emmaline.
It was a special night for model Ryan Bass of Imperial PFS, who took his 15 minutes of fame to propose to his steady squeeze Victoria Nguyen. So surprised was the bride-to-be that she burst into tears as she accepted.
Party crowd: Lucinda and Javier Loya, Amanda Mills, Sneha and Nick Merchant, Brigette and Bashar Kalai, Annie Amante, Melissa and Michael Mithoff, Princess Tatiana and Guillermo Sierra, Vivian Wise, Diane Lokey Farb, Stacey and Al Lindseth, Neal Hamil, Rachel Bagwell, Joanne King Herring, Michelle Reyna and Ally Van Kolwijk.