|Ballet Gala Featured Masked Patrons, Elegant Gowns and Tanned Celebutantes|
|February 02, 2005|
|By: Carla Zuber|
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|The San Francisco Ballet kicked off its 72nd Repertory seasons with a splashy Opening Night Gala that brought in the old guard, the new guard and a few security guards for some Hollywood visitors too. |
The Encore group gathered for cocktails at the War Memorial Opera House to sip champagne and show off the new holiday baubles before adjourning to the downstairs cafe for a yummy three-course dinner catered by Patina with wine by La Crema. Many guests donned elaborate Venetian masks which added a sense of mystery and elegance to the evening. The event was expertly chaired by Jocelyn Ferguson and Ali Morr with help from Dana Marie Sanchez who was the dinner chair. Jocelyn wore a petal pink strapless taffeta gown by Melinda Eng and Ali opted for a blue backless creation by Michael Casey. Dana went the Grecian goddess look in a red silk Tadashi gown. All three wore jewelry by Shreve & Co. and Mikimoto. Stephanie Russell, Encore's president, was also on hand in a teal-colored gown by Oakland designer Rafael Castro.
Long-time ballet supporters Lee Gregory, Nina Federoff, and Caroline Prioleau reminisced about the galas that they chaired in year's past. Michael Kim and Letitia Todd had plenty of talk about as they just returned from two fun trips - one to Washington D.C. for the inauguration and the other to Bora Bora where Michael proposed to Letitia. Also enjoying the evening were D.J. Grubb and Audrey Sadler, Elaine Mellis, Trish and Charlie Loucks, Randy and Belinda Steyer, and Shannon McClennahan and Waldemar Mozes.
Once dinner concluded, guests made their way into the Opera House to enjoy an electrified performance. The buzz in the Opera House intensified as a blonde and tanned well-known guest was seated in one of the boxes. No, it wasn't Leslie Gay, who was in the row down from Helene de Baubigny and John Golub. It was celebutante Paris Hilton, who looked glamourous even as she chatted with friends on her cell phone. As Paris would say, "That's hot!"