Society / Featured Parties

“Let Them Eat Cake” Party Shows Houston’s Wild Side Before Coronavirus Times

Partying Like It's 1799

BY // 03.26.20
photography Priscilla Dickson

Everything from this point onward will be defined as before COVID-19 and after COVID-19. Before the world was turned upside down … For this moment in the post-coronavirus period, we look back to BC, when one Houstonian held a 50th birthday celebration that rang with the carefree, indulgent spirit of the times — a grand masked ball. A happy story.

The costumed party host commanded, “Let them eat cake.” And, there was cake, just as there were would-be Marie Antoinettes, a King Louis XIV or two, and any number of lords and ladies channeled from royal 18th-century courts. This party, held at The Parador earlier this month, was one royal bash where the invitation was limited to those who would dress according to decree.

The invitation, printed on an ancient-looking scroll, suggested: “Those who wish to engage in coquetry and whimsy through the evening are encouraged to bring a masquerade of their choosing.”

No ordinary party would do for birthday boy Robert Pupelis, president and CEO of medical device manufacturer Spectros.

So, he and his life partner, attorney Joel Sprott (senior partner and shareholder in the law firm of Sprott, Newsom, Quattlebaum & Messenger), plotted a regal evening that inspired at least one partygoer to note, “We partied like it was 1799.”

Two hundred guests fully embraced the costuming, to the point that The Parador looked like a film set for Amadeus or Dangerous Liaisons. Think powdered wigs, silk, satin, lavish embroidery, and over-the-top makeup.

In the spirit of the era, the party hosts arrived by horse-drawn carriage, and each guest was announced by a court herald and welcomed with the sound of trumpets. Their costumes perfectly matched the lavish transformation of The Parador into a gilded palace by EB Events.

After Pupelis declared, “Let them eat cake,” the overloaded banquet table, artfully presented by Melange Catering, opened, and a flash mob of performers strolled throughout the venue and gathered onstage to sing — of course — “Masquerade.”

The birthday boy was presented with a mock Oscar, and the party of the century rocked until the wee hours to the sounds of DJ Cesar Gill. And, yes, a grand time was had by all.

PC Seen: David LaDuke, Gary Hammett, Heather Smith, Cody Mortensen, Robert and Leia Cromwell, Trish and Rock Morille, Ashley and Dave Dulski, Terry Wayne Jones, Aaron Masterson, Marya Khalil-Otto, Joel Kalmin and Matteo Sciolla.

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