ONE OF THE hottest tickets on the fall social calendars for 25 years — Debbie and Rudy Festari’s “Una Notte in Italia,” both a boisterous dance-party gala and a men’s fashion show featuring pro athletes and other notable gents from the community — has come and gone for the last time.
The Festaris, owners of the men’s boutique Festari for Men, announced that this year’s event at the Omni, attended by nearly 600 people and raising a record-breaking $540,000 for Children at Risk, would be the last. So they went out with a bang!
“The ballroom was beautifully decorated in silver and green with roman-styled décor, including framed photos of Michaelangelo's statue of David on stage,” noted a rep for gala organizers. “Then beautiful and beloved emcee Dominique Sachse got the event started, and the philanthropic men and athletes took to the runway.”
Models for the night included doctors Matthew Brams, Al Lindseth, Courtney El-Zokm and Roland Maldonado with Kayvon Sohrabi; attorneys Mo Aziz, Travis Torrence and James Lassiter; businessmen Pete Bell, Pablo Delgado, Matthew Hurley, Robert Bailey and Ajay Khurana with son, Shaan. Donald Bowers and journalist Steven Devadum were also on hand, as were athletes like former Houston Dynamo star Brian Ching, Houston Sabercats rugby star Gerrie Labuschagne, Houston Rockets GM Rafael Stone along with son, Gerard, and Houston Texans Jonathan Owens, Austin Deculus and Garret Wallow. At the end, “handsome clothier Rudy Festari took his final walk on stage to a standing ovation,” noted the gala rep.
The highlight of auctioneer Johnny Bravo’s auction came when Ginny and Dustin Bailey bid $100,000 for a vacation package, which drew a rowdy and grateful response from the crowd. Alice Mao Brams and Stacey Lindseth were chairs for the evening. Guests included Brigitte Kalai, Melissa and Michael Mithoff, Melissa Juneau, Olympian Carl Lewis, Courtney Hopson, Kristen Cannon, Hallie Vanderhider, Ben Berg, Donae Chramosta and Lara Bell.
Jennifer Pinkerton, Debbie Festari and Rachel Bagwell
Amy Beth Talley, Dr. Courtney El-Zokm, Dustin and Ginny Bailey
Ben Berg and Sam Governale
Brian White and Claudia Sierra
Brigitte Kalai, Katherine Triestman, Tiffany Wong and Melissa Mithoff
Alice Mao and Matthew Brams
Cody Soutar, Kristy Phillips and Sheri Wharton
Stacey and Al Lindseth
Gigi Huang, Johnny Bravo and Lara Bell
Rafael Stone and Gerard Stone
Kathryn and Faruk Mujezinovic
Lane and Chita Craft, Iraida and Danny Brown
Monica Guerra and Crystal Del Toro
Paige Halberdier, Rachel Estes, Nikki Hardwick and Janette Gardner