‘Destiny’s Style’ book signing draws a crowd to the Galleria

Houston Chronicle – Wednesday 2 STAR EDITION
TWO of the singing, swinging, designing Knowles gang, Solagne and mama Tina, plus Destiny’s Child’s Kelly Rowland swooped into the Galleria Saturday afternoon. But not for a post-Thanksgiving shopping spree.

It was a high-powered kickoff of Tina’s tour promoting her book Destiny’s Style: Bootylicious Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle Secrets From Destiny’s Child. Body guard and Houston Police Department arrivals at Sephora, plus a German film crew, were early clues that something big was about to happen at the cosmetics/fragrance boutique. At its peak, the line of fans snaked outside the store, around the corner and all the way to Victoria’s Secret windows displaying their own brand of bootyliciousness.

By the time Tina’s hand gave out from autographs – and the shopping throngs were satisfied – more than 150 books had been sold. But the party wasn’t over.

The book celebration continued Saturday night with a private event at Chuck Russell’s Seven Lounge. While Tina held the limelight for most of the party, she was quietly upstaged by surprise guest Beyonce Knowles who flew in just for the evening honoring her mother. Golden tresses flowing, Beyonce dressed not in diva mode but more like the girl from the upscale ‘hood – no glitz, no glam makeup.

In the crowd were Johnny Rinando, Summar Salah, LA Clever, Melinda Manney and Yolanda Williamson of Page Parkes, which co-sponsored the party at Sephora.

Carnegie debut

Princeton freshman Lauren Bush preened in the Manhattan spotlight last week when she helped drape a Christmas tree at Harry Winston with a zillion dollars worth of jewels. The occasion was a glitzy evening that benefited KIPP Academy in the Bronx.

Tonight, Lauren and her mother, Sharon Bush, team up on behalf of the charter school, which has a sister campus in Houston. They are co-chairing the Carnegie Hall debut of Kipp Academy’s String & Rhythm Orchestra. Joining the Bush duo as co-chairs are Houston’s Debbie and Roger Clemens, the former New York Yankee who is now a free agent, and Doris and Donald Fisher, founders of The Gap.

The entertainment lineup includes Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black, Carlos Alomar and Aselin Debison and a few surprise guests.

Despite the strong Houston support – gala committee members include the Houston KIPP board – proceeds benefit the Bronx school only. You might recall that Sharon Bush chaired last January’s KIPP Academy fund-raiser here. Maureen Hackett and Barbara Hurwitz co-chaired the evening that raised $ 750,000 and featured first lady Laura Bush as guest speaker.

In good taste

Alberto Baffoni, the affable chef/owner of Simposio Ristorante Italiano, is just back from Tuscany where he joined travel ace Gregory Patrick in readying another Tours of Enchantment villa for paying guests. Baffoni designed menus, organized the kitchen, planned an herb garden and divined other luxury touches for the villa located within driving distance of Siena and Florence.

Houstonian Patrick has a stable of more than 650 luxury villas and homes around the world for rent.

During the recent Tuscan visit, Patrick invited Laura and Guccio Gucci, of the leather-crafting and fashion-designing Guccis, to test-drive the new property. A bonus, or perhaps not – neighboring villas belong to Sting and Fidel Castro, according to Patrick. A Cuban communist with an Italian villa? Si si.

Ladies in red

Of the 100 or so women who lunched at the River Oaks home of Francie Willis Monday, most wore red. A direct response to the invitation that called for guests to dress as hussies or angels. The latter fashion option was pink.

Hershey Grace and Willis have been throwing this holiday-themed lunch for years. Until Monday, guests were requested to dress hussy-style in red. Willis decided it was time for a kinder, gentler fashion approach so she threw in the angel option.

But few followed her pink lead. Among the handful appearing angelic were Martha Turner, Karen Winston, Patricia Harrison, Harriet Gertner and Kathy Somerville.

The red-hot mamas included Andy Delery, supplementing her devilish attire with a red wig worthy of Julia Roberts, and Carol Sawyer in a neon-red wig. Others taking the red road were Maryann Hoffer, Karen Wildenstein, Diane Gendel, Chris Kase and Debbie Festari.

Three brave men dared join the hen fest – John Moritz, Ed McMahon and Wayne Glemser, each of whom joined the hussy mode with a touch of red.

Booked for travel

Former presidential aide Peter Roussel will be earning plenty of frequent-flyer miles in the coming weeks as he hits the road pumping his book Ruffled Flourishes. Roussel signs copies of the tome, an irreverent look at life behind the scenes in the White House, Thursday at Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, D.C. There he expects to reminisce with former White House colleagues and members of the media with whom he ran during the Ford, Reagan and Bush administrations.

After the first of the year, Roussel heads across the state as well as to New York and Virginia. Look for him at River Oaks Bookstore Dec. 18 for his second signing event there.

— Shelby Hodge

Copyright 2002 The Houston Chronicle Publishing Company

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