Brilliant captures the way Texans affect the world and the way the world affects Texans. Our state is legendary in size and reputation... and Brilliant profiles its magnificence like no other magazine. Dynamic in scope and editorially eclectic, it reflects the people, culture and lifestyle of Texans on a grand scale. Each month, we focus on the very best Texas has to offer from the world of tastemakers, trendsetters and creative innovators, covering celebrities, cuisine, interiors, architecture, culture, entertainment and fashion. (Photographed above: Liaisons au Louvre II Gala in Paris hosted by Becca Cason Thrash. Photography By David Atlan)
South Texas Native Wows International Society With Second Louvre Gala. It’s good to be Becca Cason Thrash these days, especially with the Harlingen native’s latest society and philanthropic triumph, the Liaisons au Louvre II gala in Paris held at, yes, the Louvre museum. Recently awarded the recipient of the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, the Houston resident is hands down one of France’s “It” girls these days. Why? First, as a friend of hers, among other things I can attest she is a fearless fundraiser and tireless hostess. When others think enough has been raised, Thrash asks; “why not more?” Secondly, she is pals with almost everyone who is interesting these days in international pop culture. “My first Louvre gala was so successful the first time around, the museum asked me to produce it again. Also, the guests wanted a second experience in Paris and the truth is “I’m just a girl who can’t say no,” admits Becca Cason Thrash.
Some of the best memories many Sociables in this state share are those of the myriad “Thrash Bashes” held over the years in the Thrash’s luxe Houston home. John is everyone’s best friend and Becca is also welcoming, gregarious, beautiful and yes, is a consummate hostess that has gained legendary status; all traits honed as a native Texan.more
Petra. The Red Sea. Mount Nebo. Wadi Rum: From ancient “lost cities” and significant Biblical sites to locations made famous in classics like Lawrence of Arabia and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, you can find them all in Jordan.
Over the last decade, the small kingdom bordering Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia has enjoyed a boom in development and a higher profile on the world stage, thanks in large part to its forty-something, U.S.-educated King Abdullah—a forward-thinking ruler who’s been known to head off on incognito motorcycle rides—and his wife, Queen Rania. As a result, the tourists who arrive in Jordan are finding world-class adventure activities, spas, gourmet cuisine and high-end shopping along with rich history.
Ma’in: A Luxury Oasis
A little over an hour’s drive from the capital city Amman, at the bottom of a ravine set 866-feet below sea level, lies the legendary Ma’in hot springs and one of the main attractions, Evason Ma’in Hot Springs Resort & Six Senses Spa. The high-end, eco-conscious hideaway operated by the Six Senses luxury brand has a section of the hot springs that is open to the public, yet the hotel—the only one adjacent to the waters—also offers private access. Simply decorated in muted earth tones accented by splashes of bright orange and pink, and boasting modern touches like iPod docks and flat screens, the 97 rooms and suites overlook waterfalls or a dramatic panorama of red-hued cliffs and Dead Sea waters with the lights of Jerusalem shimmering in the distance.more
As a little girl, every bride dreams of her fairy tale “I Do.” From the perfect dress to details that make all the difference, Brilliant unveils this year’s matrimonial must-haves. Inspired by two Texas couples whose nuptials define glitz, glam and gusto, our ode to wedded bliss marks the beginnings of happily ever after.
It was a scene worthy of a royal affair as guests flocked to the Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, where the daughter of Dr. Jerry and Cyndi Lewis and the son of Texas Governor Rick and Anita Perry were wed. The love story between Meredith Lewis and Griffin Perry began during their sophomore year at Vanderbilt, and culminated into a private boat proposal on Lake LBJ. Much like the couple, the wedding weekend was energetic, full of love, and rich in family tradition. “We wanted it to be a celebration of not only us, but of the friends, family and relationships in our lives,” gushes the bride.
A rehearsal dinner at the Meadows Museum punctuated the festivities with a charming toast from the groom’s father. “As parents, we couldn’t ask for a better daughter-in-law,” says Mrs. Perry. On the big day, the bride graced the aisle in a classic, floor-sweeping Carolina Herrera and, almost on cue, the crowds parted for her big reveal. For the seated reception at the Belo Mansion, both Texans opted for fun over formality, complete with a first dance from country singer Clay Walker. The newly betrothed were later whisked away in a classic Rolls Royce en route to a sun and ski honeymoon in the Bahamas and Beaver Creek. As the parents of the bride reminisce, “It was a truly magical weekend, full of special relationships, old and new, and the hope for a wonderful future.”more
Open the doors to this Spanish-inspired hacienda and any thoughts of conventionality are immediately erased. The manse offers the perfect backdrop to a Hollywood movie scene, complete with a manicured lawn flanked by rows of perfectly trimmed palm trees and a ubiquitous view of the serene Hill Country. Step inside and the entrance foyer oozing with style and sophistication brings the home from cookie-cutter to beyond cool in daring pops of color.
When the quiet, yet majestic estate in San Antonio’s private community of The Dominion hit the market over a year ago, a family of seven leapt at the opportunity. Perfect for summer and holiday getaways, the retreat would become everything they were looking for – glamorous city chic at a Texan address. Upon first glance, the owners knew just who to call to complete their new pad’s transformation.
Enter Casey Roy, the Managing Director of Design at Baxter Design Group with an impeccable sense of style and passion for fearless flair. Since joining the San Antonio-based interior design firm five years ago, Roy has extended signature swank to many a high-end residential home, and clients keep coming back for more. Ask her to define an ideal space and she’ll proudly declare, “classic with a pop of surprise here and there.” Her favorite interiors are those filled with “bold colors and vivid contrasts that translate into spaces full of personality and high style.”more
Where can you go for a few days that can actually seem like week’s rest and relaxation? Look no further, because the newish Capella Pedregal in Los Cabos Mexico is the destination of the rich, celebrated and also, to those who understand the value of understated luxury at its finest.
First, we all know there are more luxurious resorts in Cabo than just about anywhere else. That’s what makes it such a popular destination with high-flying Texans. It is close, convenient since Cabo is really Baja California, plus the warm and inviting of Mexican resorts is irresistible. The glam strip of beach land connects the towns of San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas.
Opened in 2009 at the very end of the area’s peninsula, Pedregal ascribes to Los Cabos’ luxe point of view. Pedregal, nestled in the hills, is both a romantic rendezvous and family-friendly property with spacious 66 casitas and suites on 24 pristine acres, while some of the private residences are available for stays, too. “The service and the overall ambience, along the people who work here, is what make this resort so special,” says Peter Bowling, the resort’s general manager.more
Todd Romano’s sitting pretty atop the design world these days. With clients in New York, Texas and across the world, why wouldn’t he be? Here, in an exclusive to Brilliant, Romano reveals his tricks of the trade, his Texas roots and how the client-decorator relationship can be both nurturing and healing…often with amazingly dramatic results.
Let’s face it, the perfection business can be grueling. When you only want the best for your clients and anything within eyesight, perfection is, without a doubt, a 24/7 job. Enter: Todd Romano, the mix master of perfection. Manhattan resident and San Antonio native, Romano attributes his extensive generational Texas roots to the incessant need to create the perfect room, the perfect house, and ultimately, the perfect life. “I was really lucky to be brought up in a house where travel, reading and the decorative arts and culture were all very important facets of our world.” Over a recent long and leisurely lunch on the patio of the Argyle Club in San Antonio, Romano revealed a career’s worth of insight to the creative process.more
PREP-arazzi: The True Prep World of Lisa Birnbach. I recently caught up with style icon, author and humorist Lisa Birnbach, who is sharing her Preppified wisdom with the world again.
Let’s face it: Lisa Birnbach is a goddess-like icon in the World of pop culture. She is charmed when I tell her I felt it was like the shot heard ‘round the world when The Official Preppy Handbook appeared in 1980. It’s so true. The book’s debut was like the New New Testament to those hungry for great style after the leftover hippy-dippy 1970s. And, it was long overdue. She made TOPH grow up and didn’t allow it to be stuck in a time warp.
The Official Preppy Handbook had revelations recalibrated from the 1950s and early '60s Mid-Century cool, much like the TV series Mad Men has done over the recent years… and helped to capture a forgotten style that ended before its prime. Heck, it was a guidebook for a country that needed guidance after the fuel shortage, Vietnam ending and lame Presidents. It became a beacon of things stylish after the decade of yellow shag carpeting, too much tie-dying and bad polyester endeavors.more
Entertaining Guru Tells All “My muse? That’s easy. My muses are my friends, clients… and the world around me,” confides entertaining expert Lulu Powers, who knows how to get things done. If you grow up one as one of six children, in a bustling Connecticut home like she did, that’s a given. Take that verve, add a heap of talent, mix in several dashes of personal pizzazz and talent… and you get a creation that is this Los Angeles-based, lifestyle entertaining expert to the stars.
I recently caught up with her and her husband, celeb photographer Steve Danielian, over cocktails at the Saint Cecilia Hotel in Austin where she is bringing her talent to Texas, and being feted by Carla and Jack McDonald at a book signing this week. Her book, Lulu Powers Food to Flowers (Harper Collins) is already a bestseller to Sociables, Celebutantes and various Royalosities who follow her advice to a T.
Did Powers come into this world wanting to be the caterer to the stars and preeminent party expert? Hardly. She moved to Los Angeles ten years ago from the East Coast to be… a comedy writer. A tough profession to break into, she pursued other avenues until she became a personal chef to supernova celeb photographer Herb Ritts. Anyone who knew Herb will agree that he was a kind and sharing soul. “He was amazing and so encouraging with what I wanted to do,” says Powers. And, from there it was up, up, up. She has catered parties for a Who’s Who of A-list celebrities since she started her own firm. She has the capacity to make it all look so easy – that’s what her clientele adore most about her, plus the creating chic, yet unpretentious, get togethers that feature both tasty cuisine and festive cocktails. “People are sometimes scared to do it themselves and I give them confidence that they can,” enthuses Powers. “It’s amazing what a simple piece of rosemary on a cheese board can do. And I am there to help them every step of the way.”more