By: Mary Jo Almeida- Shore
Nothing says “We’ve arrived!” like a lavish, celeb-studded, gala opening bash for several hundred of Miami’s finest – especially when you throw in miles of decadent gourmet food, a live full-piece orchestra, champagne sabering, ten-minute fireworks display, and late night dance party. Such was the case on Saturday night for the glitzy grand opening of the Yabu Pushelberg designed St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, “the most anticipated hotel opening of 2012” according to Forbes magazine. Touted as a
“peerless” (as in 24 hour butler service) “haven” (as in 1,000 feet of pristine beach) the resort’s opening bash heralded its debut in grandiose style. Upon arrival, the chic guests admired the hotel’s posh lobby and bar area and followed the “yellow lit road” to a 1,000 foot seaside wonderland lined with food, cocktails, live music and fabulous people. All along the way- about every foot or so, there was a St. Regis staff member to greet and welcome guests to the property- who needs daily affirmations with that kind of love around?
Then there was the food- you may have heard of Jean-Georges Vongerichten – yes THE world-renowned chef Jean Georges – as in Martha Stewart’s BFF (Vongerichten and his son, Cedric recently catered Stewart’s granddaughter, Jude’s first birthday at Perry’s in New York, where Cedric is executive chef) who masterfully crafted culinary experiences throughout the night from his J & G Grill which is on the property. We’re talking mounds of caviar, succulent lobster, shrimp, quail, Carpaccio, truffle grilled cheese, Wagyu Kobe beef and sushi. As if this weren’t enough to fill our culinary cravings, there was an oyster shucker- dressed in fly fishing gear, who stood inside a fountain while shucking the endless array of oysters and various dessert tables, one with a chef creating a frozen cream dessert- flash fried in liquid nitrogen and served on a spoon.
Because nothing commemorates 28 St. Regis properties quite like a champagne sabering, 13 of the brand’s legendary St. Regis Butlers ceremoniously carried 28 bottles on-stage to join General Manager, Marco Selva, and Starwood Hotels and Resorts CEO, Frits van Paasschen, for the time-honored tradition which began with the opening of the first St. Regis. Two saberists dramatically scored the corks off two bottles sending champagne spraying in the air just before a fireworks display lit the sky. As if on cue, the sky opened for a spring shower- not that anyone seemed to mind- with all the champagne flying through the air and the fireworks illuminating the already glowing crowd.
St. Regis Connoisseurs, famed designer Jason Wu, actress Diane Kruger and Polo star Nacho Figueras served as the evening’s hosts. Wu commented on the stylish and sophisticated crowd at the affair and shared that a major perk of the St. Regis Resorts is the 24 hour butler service, thanks to which he doesn’t need to unpack and pack during his busy travel schedule. Kruger, who recently played Marie Antoinette in the movie Farewell, My Queen, donned a black Jason Wu cape dress embroidered in gold with Swarovski crystals from his fall 2012 collection and seemed delighted to mingle with fellow party-goers. Nacho Figueras, who is “Na-cho average polo player” is also a swoon-worthy Ralph Lauren model. He and his gorgeous wife, Delfina Blaquier, partied late night at the St. Regis. They mentioned that they are fans of the St. Regis brand, and make it a point to stay at the St. Regis resorts whenever they travel with their three children.
Other famous faces in attendance included CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Estee Lauder’s newest spokes model Arizona Muse. Additional notable attendees included: Mary Alice Stephenson, Olivia Chantecaille, Ann Caruso, George Yabu & Glenn Pushelberg, designers Naeem Khan and Rene Ruiz, Arin Maercks & Christina Getty Maercks, photographer and model Delfina Blaquier, Daniella Swaebe & Michael Comras, Gary & Jennifer Nader, Gary & Dana Shear, Susanne Birbragher, Christina Getty, Morten & Stephanie Aagaard, Iran Issa-Khan, Tara Solomon & Nick D’Annunzio.
The party showed no sign of stopping after midnight, despite a second downpour. Guests escaped the torrential rain through the kitchen, Conga-line style, and made their way to the swanky bar for more late-night revelry where Figueras enthusiastically sabered his own bottle of champagne.
The night before the grand opening party, VIPS including Jason Wu, Nacho Figueras, Diane Kruger, Delfina Figueras, Olivia Chantecaille, Mary Alice Stephenson, Ann Caruso, Christina Getty, Louis Aguirre and Iran Issa-Khan enjoyed a midnight supper at J&G Grill. The Midnight Supper is a century-old St. Regis tradition which has its roots in Caroline Astor, who herself used to host these intimate dinners, which often began at the stroke of Midnight for the Astor “400.” Vongerichten created a special menu for the evening, paired with exceptional wines and champagnes. Photos by John Parra/Getty Images for St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort & Residences
Tom Ford at Neiman Marcus
We were blown away upon stepping out of the elevator at The Man’s Store at Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour last Thursday as gorgeous male models dressed to the nines in Tom Ford greeted us for the grand opening celebration for the first Tom Ford Men’s Shop in Bal Harbour. The event was hosted by some of Miami’s most dapper gentlemen including Nick D’Annunzio (Principal at TARA, Ink.), Ken Gorin (President of The Collection), Victor Kanevsky (Renowned Dance Coach & Owner of VK Dance), Bill Kearney (Managing Editor for Ocean Drive Magazine), Keith Menin (Principal of Menin Hotels), and Edward Nieto (President & Designer of Edward Nieto Design). Guests enjoyed complimentary cocktails made with Gentleman Jack Rare Tennessee Whiskey, and delicious bites by Philippe Chow Miami, Vesper American Brasserie and the NM Zodiac.
Last week, Funkshion: Fashion Week Miami Beach celebrated its 9th year and 18th season. As with every year, Funkshion fused music and fashion, providing a platform for progressive and established designers to showcase their collections to media, celebrities, international buyers, and select style makers.
Funkshion’s highlights included: Bolivar Restaurant’s media reception, University of MIAMI Art & Design’s student showcase, Saha Productions’ Angel Brinks Couture Leggings , Cruel Summer by Emily Brown , Hevin by Pachi Lake, LA GlamRock by Lauren Ashley, Wet Couture Swimwear by Angelina Petragl, Haiti a La Mode!, Jacinta Ligon, Aluna Swimwear, Yasser Faraco and 5 Star General, Julia Veli and Casey Levan. Guests enjoyed complimentary cocktails all week by Hpnotiq Harmonie.