Photo credit: Walter Tabayoyong.
The moon and stars were shining brightly over the 94th Squadron Restaurant in Van Nuys, California on the night of January 21, 2016. An international group of socialites and dignitaries gathered there for an exclusive gala celebrating a collaboration between globally renowned celebrity fashion designer Sue Wong and airline industry innovator and rising star Prestige Private Air. It was an evening of all things luxury, refinement, and charity, and marked the launching of Prestige Private Air’s new international flights and the unveiling of Sue Wong’s retrospective of her fashion designs from the last twelve years of her career.
Guests attending this red carpet event were treated to a five-course gourmet dinner, complemented with award winning wines from all over the globe.
“The evening was not only about bringing together our friends and jet members for a night of fashion, luxury, entertainment, and networking, but also about giving back to and making an impact on the community,” says Alex Reilly, CEO of Prestige Private Air. On this night, the charity benefiting from generous donations was the Jewish National Fund.
Prestige Private Air Jet wants to change the way we fly! It is a pay-as-you-fly, on-demand charter jet membership club which offers spectacular benefits to its clients by partnering with other organizations around the world in order to provide access for its members to door-to-door services, executive business terminals, helicopter transfers, yachts, private villas — anything you can think of involving luxury. All this comes with one’s own concierge.
“We are disrupting a stagnant industry and revolutionizing the way people fly,” says Alex Reilly.
Prestige Private Air members have insider access to exclusive parties and events such as Napa Valley wine tastings, the Masters golf tournament, Art Basel, and many more. A-list ambassador partners, entertainers, and athletes host these events.
The cost of membership is roughly that of a first class commercial airline ticket, for which one receives unparalleled rewards.
On this night, Prestige Private Air announced new international membership flight routes: Shanghai/Beijing, Tel Aviv, and Mexico City.
Alex Reilly states, “We recently partnered with PTTR/Pilots To The Rescue, an organization which saves animals from imminent death. We donate 10% of flight fees and membership dues to this very important cause.”
The owners of Prestige Private Air are Spring Saunders, Eli Lieberman, and Reilly.
Sue Wong is one of the most sought after fashion designers in the world today. The creativity of her designs and the strength of her personality have established her as one of the great stars in the fashion design firmament. Wong is the embodiment of the legendary fictional character Auntie Mame, of Broadway and Hollywood fame. Like Auntie Mame, Wong brings merriment, zest, and unbridled creativity to all her endeavors.
“I enjoy all cultures and consider myself a citizen of the world,” says Wong. Like Auntie Mame, she is the pied piper of refinement, grace, and culture.
Wong has been deeply influenced by her favourite Greek goddesses Athena, Artemis, and Aphrodite, and, as a result, has turned herself into an archetypical modern day goddess on this earthly plane, acting as a positive force to guide us in all things luxury and art. This force permeates her gowns, her perfume, and her bath products, inculcating her creative spirit.
“I chose 30 pieces for this retrospective installation from 8,000 to 10,000 archived gowns which span the last twelve years of my design career. Each of these pieces showcases my unique signature seductive mystique, which transcends all countries and speaks a universal language of haute refinement. It was a great pleasure to re-discover and highlight these designs and then to share insights into how each was created and explain its most important aspects and features,” says Wong.
Amazingly, Wong designs approximately 1,500 gown each year, and she displays these creations in spectacular, standing room only runway shows and installations, which she personally produces and orchestrates.
Her gowns can be found in prestigious major department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Lord & Taylor, to name but a few, and can also be viewed and purchased online on her own site.
Needless to say, a great highlight of this night was Wong’s display of her personally selected historic designs, a showing which left no doubt that she is the apotheosis of style and creativity in the fashion world.
Wong showcased a wide variety of colours, fabrics, and styles in designs ranging from ball gowns to cocktail dresses to wedding gowns.
She presented exquisite fabrics replete with luminous beads, unique embroideries, and layered textures embellished with paillettes, passementerie, and soutache. Some featured exotic elements such as ostrich, quail, and peacock feathers, as well as silver and copper encrusted beads. Indeed, the fortuitous combinations of these features create works of stunning beauty. One can surely say that Wong is the queen of details!
Wong says aptly of her gowns, “They are glamorous old classics with a modern twist.”
Another astounding fact about her work is that she doesn’t repeat herself! Each collection is unique, artfully combining glamour with amour and allure.
Mere words cannot do these designs justice, but I will do my best. Some of my favorites were:
- A tulle gown encrusted with silver beadwork and silver metallic embroidery, romantic sandalwood in colour, with a 1930’s mermaid/fish tale silhouette.
- An antique champagne gown with a fish tail/mermaid silhouette, with a skirt with ostrich and quail feathers, featuring an art deco motif of geometric rows of soutache embroidery and design, accented with silver beads and paillettes; truly reminiscent of romantic old Hollywood.
- A chocolate art deco short cocktail dress with silver and copper geometric beadwork, chocolate beaded midriff paillettes embroidery, and ruched draped bodice held together by spaghetti straps.
- A 1920’-30’s chocolate ensemble coat and cocktail dress; the coat was made of chiffon silk and featured soutache and passementerie embroidered satin ribbons; ostrich feathers trim the neckline and cuffs; the coat is paired with a strapless cocktail dress that is ruched at the bodice with chiffon silk, beaded midriff and beading at the hem band.
- A peacock coloured gown, silk charmuse, with an organza petal skirt trimmed in ostrich and peacock feathers, and accented with copper beads.
- A 1930’s inspired sapphire chiffon gown with an illusion back and yoke; it has a beautiful transparency, with a jewel-encrusted bodice featuring rhinestones, beadwork, and paillettes.
The models, of course, wore exotic creations from Wong’s signature jeweler, Vilaiwan, and striking headdresses from What A Betty, KicKa Custom Designs, and Sue Wong — yes, the ever versatile Wong even designs some of the headdresses she artfully employs.
(In that vein, Wong has just announced she will extend her creative imprint beyond apparel into other modalities: “I am very excited to expand my artistic canvas into other licensing ventures related to Home, Lifestyle, and Interiors, for which I have always had a passionate affinity.”)
This evening’s gala event was attended by honoured guests including: Consul General of Germany Hans Jörg Neumann; Consul General of Croatia Sinisa Grgic; Consul General of Peru Liliana Cino; Consul General of Egypt Lamia Mekhemar; former Consul General of Bolivia Fernando Lazcano Dunn; actress Alice Amter (The Big Bang Theory); actress Sofia Milos (CSI: Miami); actress Sun Kate Linder (The Young and the Restless); actress and award-winning journalist Vida Ghaffari; international opera star Michael Peer; artist and writer Mikeberti TechnoNatural; Miss Asia; Miss California; Miss Latin Teen Global USA; co-owners of Keller Williams – Westlake Village, Paige Gordon and Tristan Almada; CEO of Eden Magazine Maryam Morrison; celebrity psychic and life coach John Michael Capaldi, and socialites/fashion aficionados Alexandrina Doheny and Jo Hilton. Truly, Sue Wong’s art and personality attract the attention of people from all walks of life.
This accomplished group joined other established and creative individuals from the worlds of diplomacy, fashion, film, journalism, music, art, photography, and beauty to celebrate on this night luxury in all its forms and also provide charity for those in need.
No Sue Wong event is complete without a performance by one of her personal favorites, Michael Peer. Peer is an Aaron Copland Music School graduate who majored in voice and opera. On this night, he sang Toreador from Carmen, an adagio from Tomaso Albinoni, and the song “My Way.” It was a breathtaking performance! Other performances were given by Joy Weiser, Ana Victoria, Jonathan Taylor, Natalie Avakian, and Abel Pena.
Luxury sponsors for this event were: Rolls Royce, Lamborghini, Piaget, Samira’s Network, Art Lewin Bespoke, Anita Collection, Glamifornia, ACCS Destination Luxury, Golan Heights Winery, Sports Massage Extreme, Malibu Family Wines, Casa Mexico Tequila, Koo Koo Liqueur, and MadFlowers.
Wong believes, “To be able to share my vision as an artist is an honour.” She continues, “All artists are alchemists; it courses through our veins and permeates the very core of who we are and it informs everything that we do in life. Art has the transformative power to affect great change because it stirs something profound within the deep recesses of first the artist and then the observer.”
Her mantra is: Beauty, Magic, and Transformation — the beauty is in her designs, the magic is in her hands, and the transformation is in the woman who wears one of her creations.
Wong is both a visionary and a quintessential artist and when a woman wears a Sue Wong design she too becomes the quintessential embodiment of the feminine divine.
As Wong says, “My gowns epitomize poetry.” For sure!
So, thank you Sue Wong and thank you Prestige Private Air for an evening under the moon and stars, which proved thoroughly enthralling at all levels.
Mr. Samvit Tara: MD – Roche Bobois India with wife Mrs. Alesha Tara