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Society / Featured Parties

Houston’s Own Great Gatsby Party is an Over-the-Top Extravaganza — Champagne and Caviar Dreams Live On

This Bayou City Power Couple Pushes the Fun to Another Level

BY // 06.05.19
photography Al Torres Photography

Few among the 450 guests knew what was in store as they wrangled through the Mercedes- and Bentley-packed traffic along the narrow lane that led to the lavish home of the ItkinsKisha, the va-va-voom wine maven, and Jason, the wildly successful trial lawyer. Not since the Memorial area home of John and Becca Cason Thrash suffered serious Hurricane Harvey flood damage have we dared imagine a party of such over-the-top proportions as those experienced on this night in late May.

Even F. Scott Fitzgerald could not have painted a more exuberant picture of deliciously uninhibited wealth.

Imagine Ruinart and Dom Perignon flowing, caviar dispensed by the bowls full, immensely expensive vintage scotch served in the library, a water nymph in a floating floral gown circulating through the candle-lit swimming pool,  Alice + Olivia models creating high-fashion tableaus beneath crystal chandeliers in a silken party tent, and fabulous gems from de Boulle vying for attention with the hundreds of thousands of dollars in Baccarat crystal on display.

Welcome to the Itkin lavish world of entertaining.

Theorem Wine Release Party (Photo by Al Torres Photography)
A water nymph in flower-decked gown circulated through the swimming pool at the Theorem Wine release party. (Photo by Al Torres Photography)

While the Cason-Thrash fêtes were aimed at charitable fundraising, this spectacular black-tie evening served as a glamorous launch of the Itkins’ Theorem Vineyards wines.

“This was our way of introducing the Theorem brand, letting it come to life in a dramatic way,” Kisha says. “And to see that everyone had fun.”

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Already earning high praise for their Theorem offerings, the Itkins’ “Voir Dire” (lawyer lingo for the preliminary questioning of jurors or witnesses) was praised earlier this year as Forbes‘ magazine’s top pick for a wine to splurge on for Valentine’s Day.  The Itkins purchased the Diamond Mountain vineyard in Napa in 2012 and quickly brought renowned winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown on board to work his magic.

Although Brown did not make the party, assistant winemaker Kathleen Ward and vineyard manager Josh Clark winged in from Napa for the party as did some 100 friends from both coasts, plus Theorem customers, Itkin family and Arnold & Itkin LLP clients and friends.

For this special night, the striking couple tapped Todd Fiscus and his Todd Events to create an evening that no one would soon forget. They added Rachel Volz and her A Fare Extraordinaire team to wow guests with a fantastical menu. And that was just the beginning as the Itkins partnered with some of their personal favorites to give the soirée even more panache.

Jeweler de Boulle created a dazzling bejeweled photo booth while Baccarat dressed the vast dining table in gleaming crystal vases, decanters, candles and a prized American eagle sculpture valued at more than $50,000. A fashionista in her own right, Kisha brought in Alice + Olivia from River Oaks District to partner with a theatrical presentation, three dramatic vignettes featuring different sets of costuming. The luxury Napa Valley resort Meadowood joined the party with an elegant croquet playing field flanked by period-style French furnishings.

Femmes in glittering gowns and their escorts cut a sensational swath through the 13,000 square foot manse as the party spilled from the house to the broad terraces to the party tent and surrounding gardens. At each turn, surprises awaited. For example, the two staircases covered in candles and vases of single peonies and the kitchen counters dressed in banks of fuchsia orchids, towers of over-sized macaron shells and cognac bonbons splashed with edible gold paint.

A Four Act Bash

The party was staged in four acts: “Diamonds and Drama” featuring portraits with de Boulle, plus wait staff swirling through with libations and hors d’oeuvres including strolling oyster shuckers, the caviar buffet, the raw bar and more; “The Roman Baths” in which the living statue provided Instagram moments as water elegantly spewed from her fingertips while she slowly circled amid her fountain waters; “Fashion Theatre” featuring the River Oaks District presentation of the fashion vignettes; and “Dancing.” The DSQ Electronic Orchestra, which had provided background throughout the night, cranked it up along with TheDJVersusViolin. The dance floor was built over a shallow pool where hydrangeas and peonies floated just beneath the clear surface.

As the evening changed gears, our hostess changed gowns. “I thought it would be fun to change with the mood of the party,” Kisha said. “I was hoping to help set the tone, to go from more formal to more festive and then late-night party.”

She began the evening in a red carpet glam pink and nude beaded gown from Alice + Olivia. Mid-party, she switched into a shimmering cocktail dress also from Alice + Olivia and concluded the night in a strapless cocktail dress by Tom Ford.

On the menu in addition to that already mentioned: Six varieties of passed hors d’oeuvres including Australian lamb lollipops and Vietnamese beef carpaccio, mini Maine lobster rolls and over-sized shrimp on the raw bar, four varieties of passed cheese and charcuterie plates, R/C Ranch Wagyu beef bacon sliders and Wagyu bone marrow arancini, panini style grilled gruyere cheese sandwiches, chef-carved tomahawk steak, late-night snacks that included two flavors of fried chicken sliders and crispy tater tots topped with pork belly, and a dessert presentation of berries with whipped cream and truffle honey, white chocolate eclairs, apricot coconut macarons dipped in chocolate and those gold-laced bonbons.

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