Celebrating the Jewels of Italy


Wednesday, September 14, 2022 11:00 AM

River Oaks Country Club
1600 River Oaks Blvd – Houston

Ticket prices

Tickets from $250 to $1,000
Get yours here >>>

Table prices

Tables from $2,500 to $10,000
Get yours here >>>

Join us for the third annual Italian Cultural & Community Center Fashion Show and Luncheon. This year we are Celebrating the Jewels of Italy and toasting those facets of Italy that we all know and love: the fashion, the food, the wine, the culture, its history and artistry.

Italy has contributed many jewels to our city, and we will honor Rosie Carrabba as one of those gems.

Our luncheon and fashion show will feature Italian designs curated by Neiman Marcus, lunch at the River Oaks Country Club, a chance to win a spectacular Italian jewel donated by Tenenbaum Jewelers, and other exciting activities, including a silent auction which will launch online one week before the event.

Since 2000, the Italian Cultural & Community Center of Houston has granted over $250,000 in scholarships to college students in the greater Houston area. This event will help further the ICCC’s goal to create opportunities for advanced learning, including assisting students who are participating in a study-abroad program in Italy. We hope you will help us inspire these young, bright students to achieve their dreams!

Photo: Aly Dunne in Gianfranco Ferré, Milano 1991 ©Gian Paolo Barbieri, Courtesy of Fondazione Gian Paolo Barbieri

Tickets and Tables

DIAMOND – $10,000

Lead sponsor underwriter for the Fashion Show portion of the event.

VIP Runway table for 10 guests
Name/logo on all marketing materials, ICCC materials and website with link to your company webpage, and a one year ad in “LaVoce Italiana
Signage at the event
2 spots in a group language class (7-week long course)
10 tickets to ICCC Films or lectures
2 raffle tickets

RUBY – $7,500

VIP table for 10 guests at the event
Name/logo on all event marketing materials, ICCC materials and
website with link to company webpage, and one year ad in “LaVoce Italiana
1 spot in a group language class (7-week long course)
Credit toward 2 hours of private Italian lessons at ICCC

EMERALD – $5,000

VIP Table for 10 guests at the event
Name list on event invitation and program, ICCC website and “LaVoce Italiana
8 tickets to ICCC Films or lectures

SAPPHIRE – $2,500

Table for 10 guests at the event
Name listed on event invitation and program

GARNET – $1,000

One VIP ticket with premier seating to fashion show
Name listed on event invitation and program, website and in “LaVoce Italiana
1 raffle ticket

PEARL – $500

Preferred seating for 1 individual at the event
Name listed on event invitation and program

OPAL – $250

One ticket to fashion show (limited number available)

The River Oaks Country Club

River Oaks Country Club was founded in 1923 in the River Oaks neighborhood in Houston.

Prominent architect John F. Staub was hired to design the original two-story Spanish revival clubhouse. The club house was built south of the golf course that was designed by Donald Ross. The current clubhouse was built in the 1950s on the same site as the original. River Oaks is known for its philanthropic and community-leading membership and its beautiful views. It is extremely exclusive. It is located at 1600 River Oaks Boulevard, Houston TX.


About Neiman Marcus

Neiman Marcus Group, Inc., originally Neiman-Marcus, is an American chain of luxury department stores owned by the Neiman Marcus Group, headquartered in DallasTexas.

The first Neiman Marcus store was opened in 1907 in Dallas. The company was founded by Herbert Marcus, his sister, Carrie Marcus Neiman, and his brother-in-law, Al Neiman.
The Bergdorf Goodman flagship store opened in 1901 in New York City. That company was founded by Herman Bergdorf in 1899 as a tailor shop. That tailor shop was purchased by Edwin Goodman in 1906 and the business started evolving to the luxury retailer it is today.

“It’s never a good sale for Neiman Marcus unless it’s a good buy for the customer.”

– Herbert Marcus

Tenenbaum Jewelers

For over 45 years, Tenenbaum Jewelers has been the place to discover an unprecedented selection of unique jewelry and a personalized shopping experience.

In New York, you visit Tiffany’s, perhaps while peering wistfully through the window, pastry in hand. But in Houston, you make the pilgrimage to Tenenbaum, the estate and fine jewelry house with roots stretching back to 1975 when the late Louis Tenenbaum opened his shop inside the iconic Warwick Hotel. As one of the largest jewelry stores in the Southern United States, Tenenbaum offers diverse options for every taste. Fulfilling the vision of current owner Tony Bradfield, Tenenbaum has expanded its offerings to reach a broader audience both in price and selection. Along with antique and vintage pieces ranging from the Georgian and Art Deco periods to the relatively contemporary designs of the 1980s and 1990s, the store now carries fine jewelry from highly collectible designers such as Buccellati in Milan, Seaman Schepps in New York, and Girard-Perregaux, a manufacturer of much sought-after Swiss timepieces that has been in business since 1791.

Luncheon Chairs

Sandra Porter

Although Sandra is not of Italian descent, she likes to say her heart and soul are Italian! She fell in love with the country, its beautiful landscapes, and its warm and welcoming people when she first set foot there in 1996 on a trip to Florence with her daughter. She has returned many times to visit—from Milan, Lake Como, Verona, and Venice, to Rome, Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Capri, and points in between. With her love of the arts, architecture, history, and delicious food and wine, she feels right at home in Bella Italia.

Enjoying a successful 30-year career as an expert strategist in branding, marketing, PR, and communications, Sandra has worked with some of the most notable companies in the U.S. and globally. Most recently, she spent over 14 years with global commercial real estate investment firm Hines where she served as Vice President, Corporate Marketing & Business Development, then Vice President, Senior Advisor before stepping down in April to focus on her family, community involvement, and personal interests.

Committed to causes that support the arts, education, and women, Sandra has served on numerous boards in the Houston area, including the board of the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce where she chairs its Women Driving Arts Education committee and council. She was recognized as one of 10 Breakthrough Women in business in 2016 and, in March 2022, was inducted into the Greater Houston Women’s Hall of Fame for her “significant contributions to the advancement of women and improving life for future generations of Houstonians”. Her greatest love is spending time with close friends and family, especially her amazing daughter, son-in-law, grandsons, and four-legged family member, Saint!


Gina Gusemano Leck

Born into a large Italian family, Gina loves that she is 100% Italian American. Her grandparents are from Genoa and Sicily, where she has traveled numerous times to connect with relatives and trace her family history back to the 1880s.

With vast experience in the fashion industry, Gina worked in her early years for Italian designer Victor Costa and then went on to work and travel for luxury goods companies Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, and Celine as well as Houston’s Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. Once she became a mother, traveling became challenging so she created and produced a baby line called ‘Child of Mine’ and enjoyed several successful years in business before selling the company to Carter’s.

The next item on her to-do list was to open her own boutique, which Gina has owned and operated for the past 19 years. Her highly successful, stylish clothing and accessory store, RainTree Boutique, is located in heart of the Tanglewood/ Galleria area. There she offers modern-day classics with an edge, topped off with fabulous jewelry.

Gina has been involved with numerous charitable organizations, such as March of Dimes, Child Advocates, Kids Meals, and the National Charity League, and she serves on two Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo committees.  She cherishes her trips to Italy with her family and looks forward to returning soon!


Guest of Honor

Rosie Carrabba

Rose Marie Carrabba was born in the East End of Houston, Texas, and raised by first-generation Italian Americans. Her father, Tony Mandola, owned Grade A Packing Company and her mother, Grace Mandola, raised five children, Rosie being the second oldest. Her siblings are some of the most influential restauranteurs in Houston. She attended Incarnate Word Academy, where her devotion to Catholicism was strengthened and life-long friendships were cultivated.

As a young adult, she married Mr. John Carrabba II, and together, they had two children, Johnny Carrabba III and Mary Louise (Carrabba) Cruse. She and Mr. Carrabba took over the family grocery store, Carrabba’s Friendly Grocery, where they served the East End of Houston regularly and served lunches to the local workers in the area. Upon retirement, they decided to sell the grocery store. Around the same time in 1988, her son and restauranteur, Johnny Carrabba, was in the process of opening his second Carrabba’s location on Voss Road. He asked Rosie to be the family presence at that location and three decades later, she still works at this location daily.

Rosie has three grandchildren, Toni Louise, Johnny IV, and Mia, who are the joy of her life. She is a giver by nature and loves to help people in every aspect of life from charities to her beloved employees at the restaurant. She consistently donates to charities, especially those that help people and children in need. She is a devout Catholic and is involved in her local community.

Beautiful Raffle Items

Purchase raffle ticket(s) to get the chance to win one of these fabulous items! Buy one ticket for $50 or buy six tickets for $250. The raffle will take place at Celebrating the Jewels of Italy Fashion Show & Luncheon on Wednesday, September 14. You don’t have to be present to win.

  1. Tenenbaum Jewelers Pieces (3 sparkling options that include  Buccellati Sterling Silver Gardenia Pendant Earrings and Cuff Bracelets with brown diamonds, Antonio Papini 18K gold earrings, and a vintage Italian 18K yellow gold half coil bracelet)
  2. Daniela Pasqualini Artwork (Gorgeous 24″ x 24″ mixed media painting on canvas)
  3. Houston Experience (An exciting two-night stay at the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston with dinner, wine, chocolate and much more included)
  4. Italian Dine Around in H-town (Enjoy a marvelous restaurant package with Houston’s best Italian spots)
  5. Tribute Goods Luxury Italian Linens (Venetian collection bedding that includes King duvet cover, Fitted, Flat, and Pillowcases)
  6. Collection of Select Italian Wines (Amazing collection of Italian wines that will carry away to the best vineyards in Italy)

If you would like to buy raffle ticket(s) or make a donation, call the ICCC at (713) 524-4222 ext. 7.


Grazie Mille to Our Sponsors and Fantastici Supports and Cari Amici

Grazie mille to our Celebrating the Jewels of Italy Fashion Show & Luncheon sponsors, supporters, donors and cari amici. The ICCC is thankful for your consideration, gratitude and token of support.


The Johnny Carrabba Family

Sandra Celli Harris/ Mary Ann Yamin/ Anna McCormick



Carolyn Faulk A&C Plastics



Sandra Porter

Randa Weiner



Margaret Bannon

Samantha Boles

Lu Caltagirone & Friends

Rosanette Cullen

Carolyn Garofalo

Cassandra Hurst with Cadence Bank

Gina Leck

Louise Maida & Friends

Julie Mastroianni

Ray & Maureen Miller/ Raluca Dalea & John Munroe

Mary Milloy

Roz Pactor & Friends

Karen Remington & Friends

Old Republic Title – Heather Harvey

Ally Shell

Claudia Sims

Dominique Marshall Varner

Cynthia Wolff



Deborah Aspromonte Simon



Lesha Elsenbrook

Dana Kervin

Joanna Porche

Ruth Pulido



Alto; Amalfi Ristorante Italiano; Amore; Andreaa Mut; August Kovach; Baratti & Milano; Bayou Bend collection and Gardens; Bayou City Art Festival; Beautique Day Spa; Bering Street Advisors – Garofalo Financial Services; Beth Harp; Bill Walker Clothier; Buck Ross and Nicole Kenley Miller – Moores Opera Center; Carolyn Garofalo; Casteggio Italian Wines by Gruppo Butera; Cherri Carbonara ; Cinzia Dragoni Holt; Ciro’s; Citterio USA; Cyvia Wolff; Claudia Sims; D’Amico’s; Da Marco; Daniela Pasqualini; Davanti; Debbie Festari; DelBrenna Jewelry; Doug Skoop – Dionysus Imports; Ellie Francisco; Flavio Zannin; Fondazione Gian Paolo Barbieri; Four Seasons Hotel Houston; Franelle Rogers; George Caflisch; Gina Leck; Gioielli DOP; Goode Co.; Heather Almond & Chris Hendel/ Neiman Marcus; HEB; Hotel Granduca; Houston Community College Cosmetology Department; Houston Community College Fashion Merchandising Department; Jack and Nancy Dinerstein; Jeanne Ruberti; Jeannine Madden in memory of Lena and Joe Mandola; Jerry Baiamonte; Joyce Frassanito; Judy Chiburis; Julie Mastroianni; Karen DeGeurin; Kathleen Gabriele; Kelly & Tracy Finn; Kendra Scott; Le Petit Market – Robin Brennan Martin; Leslie Teitelbaum; Madison Henderson; Maida’s Belts and Buckles; Margret Norton; Marguerite Gabriele; Marian Luntz – MFAH; Martini & Rossi Fiero; Mary Milloy; Matilde Vicenzi Italian Fine Pastry; Michael Leiser; Michael Martinez Portrait; Mike Vellano – The Vortex Companies; More Than You Can Imagine; Neiman Marcus; Numero 28; Owen Conflenti KPRC TV2; Palazzo’s; Porta’Vino; Potente; RainTree Boutique; Ray Kirk; Ray Miller; Rob May – Killer Vino; Robert Sakowitz; ROMA, An Italian Eatery; Rosalie Gusemano; Rosanette Cullen; Roz Pactor; Sandra Porter; Solaya Spa; TASS; Tenenbaum Jewelers; Terramar Imports; Tessa Anderson; Texas Wine School; The Goodman Corporation; The nice Winery; The Padgett Group; The Vintage Contessa; Tom and Robin Segesta; Tootsiess; Tribute Goods; Trips 2 Italy; TuttiLili; Valentino Beauty; Vinology; Vinoteca Poscol


Information and sponsorships

Tickets can be purchased online on Eventbrite here >>>

or by filling out the form on this page (click here) and then returning it by one of the method listed below:

By fax:

By mail:
Italian Cultural & Community Center
ATTN: Fashion Show & Luncheon
1101 Milford Street, Houston, Texas 77006

By email:

To be listed in the invitations, please return completed forms by August 15, 2022.

Sponsorship Policy

Sponsorship commitment must be received no later than August 15, 2022 in order to guarantee inclusion in promotional materials. This form executed by a principal/representative with at least 50% payment of selected sponsor level is necessary to ensure sponsor commitment. This serves as an agreement between sponsor and the Italian Cultural & Community Center of Houston. Please note that no refunds will be issued in the event of inclement weather or cancellation of the event due to circumstances beyond the control of the organizers of the event.

The Italian Cultural & Community Center of Houston is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501 (c )(3) nonprofit organization. All charitable contributions are tax deductible as provided by law.

The ICCC is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.


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