At the end of the runway show featuring Andrés Otálora designs, models carry shots of Titanium Tequila at the Latin Women's Initiative Fashion Show and Luncheon.
Gloria Luna Bounds, Michele Leal Farah, Daisy Mendoza
Cyndy Garza Roberts, Maria Nelly Noble, Naimeh Salem
Jacob Rascon, Monica & Joe Casiano
Chris Brown, George Farah, Armando Walle
Gordon Bethune & Jessica Rossman
Fady Armanious, Hallie Vanderhider
Designer Andrés Otálora takes his runway bow at the conclusion of the Latin Women's Initiative Fashion Show and Luncheon.
Frank Molina, Andy Canales, Jesse Bounds, Thomas Roberts
Gwen & Ed Emmett
Julie Garza, Maritza Gonzales, Angela Garcia
Karla Martinez, Andrea Gomez
Mari Trevino, Monica Casiano, Conchita Reyes
Marilu Garza, Susie Molina
Meghan Lee, Ceron
Philamena Baird, Trini Mendehall, Regina Garcia
Dr. Roland Maldonado, Debbie Festari
Vicky Dominguez, Nancy Almodovar
With tequila shots, a lounge for “Bad Hombres,” and a Mexican dessert prepared from a secret recipe, the 16th annual Latin Women’s Initiative Fashion Show and Luncheon kept a good thing going as more than 700 filled the Hilton Americas-Houston hotel ballroom for a boisterous affair featuring all the ingredients for another spectacular success.
Dubbed the “Latin Power Lunch” and known as one of the spring social season’s liveliest happenings, the event highlights a top Latin American designer with a glamorous runway show along a catwalk that zigzags across the ballroom and is punctuated by a tequila toast at the conclusion where models and guests join in.
As honorary chair and longtime supporter Jessica Rossman told the crowd in opening remarks, “I realize that I am what’s standing between what you guys really want, and that’s the tequila shot at the end of the show, so I’ll keep my comments brief.”
Then she got serious as she praised the “homegrown” organization for its support of women and children in Houston’s Latino community with more than $3 million raised since the organization was founded in 1995, including $300,00 this year.
Event co-chairs Gloria Luna Bounds and Daisy Mendoza, along with Latin Women’s Initiative president Michele Leal Farah, introduced representatives from six nonprofits named as this year’s beneficiaries: L.I.F.E. Houston, Undies for Everyone, Small Steps Nurturing Center, University of Houston Center for Mexican American Studies, Academic Achievers Program. Memorial Assistance Ministries (MAM) and SpringSpirit.
Columbian designer Andrés Otálora wowed the crowd with a collection featuring print dresses with pleated tops and handkerchief hems, off-the-shoulder blouses with feathery ruffles, and eye-catching tiered gowns, several cinched with leather corsets. The fashion show, produced by Lenny Matuszewski and Tamara Klosz Bonar, also included breezy women’s daywear from Houston’s Cooperativa Shop and a smattering of hunky shirtless men in swim trunks, providing some eye candy for the appreciative crowd, which burst into applause.
Before and after the luncheon, guests shopped the extensive marketplace in the hotel foyer, where designs from the runway show as well as a wide array of jewelry, clothing and accessories from other merchants were available for purchase, with 20 percent of sales donated to LWI.
The foyer also featured a “Bad Hombres” lounge for men attending the luncheon, with hand-rolled cigars, a shoeshine stand, and a band playing Latin tunes. One longtime organizer explained that over the years, spouses have heard that the event was so much fun that they wanted to attend, and the lounge was a way to make them feel welcomed.
In addition to the tequila shots, provided by Titanium Tequila, guests dined on Latin-themed cuisine, including chili-lime basted chicken breast, Mexican street corn, cilantro rice, and Platanos Maduros. For dessert, the Hilton chefs created a Mexican chocolate cake with a hint of coffee and cinnamon, from the LWI cookbook, Latin Flavors. Each guest received a copy of the cookbook and the cake recipe.
Seen in the crowd were KPRC Channel 2 reporter and weekend anchor Jacob Rascon, who served as emcee, Maria Vilchez Lowrey, Claudia Aguirre, Cyndy Garza Roberts, Gordon Bethune, Lisset Garza, George Farah, Maritza Gonzales, Fady Armanious, Hallie Vanderhider, Mari Treviño, Micheline Newall, Ceron, Trini Mendenhall, Regina Garcia, Houston City Controller Chris Brown and Divya Brown, and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Gwen Emmett.