Brazos Hall was transformed into a lush, old-Hollywood den on Tuesday night for Nak Armstrong and Tribeza Style Week's Unveiled Dinner and After Party, benefiting Hospice Austin. Sixty black-tie guests attended the $1,000-a-plate seated dinner by La Condesa; the event was was co-hosted by sinewy Texas supermodel Erin Wasson, who was clad for the occasion in a sleek, black evening gown and ankle cowboy boots. A close friend of the jewelry designer, Wasson recently sported a single, glittering emerald Nak Armstrong earring to the MTV Video Music Award ceremony in August.
Local floral artist David Kurio designed a stunning floating centerpiece of vibrant green elephant ears that hung over a long table of lit candles, meticulously arranged three-deep and hundreds-long. A DJ played soft house and soul music during dinner, allowing the guests enough quiet to talk. Judging by the gossip mill that revved up afterward, though, the most exciting portion of the evening came when Wasson lit a cigarette inside during her meal — and no one dared tell her to put it out. In fact, her rebellious nature seemed to inspire the crowd, as many were then seen lighting up indoors throughout the rest of the party. (You have to laugh.)
As the dinner party officially gave way to the afterparty, sponsored by Posh Properties, guests mingled among the plush leather furniture and old-school movie spotlights in a setting designed by Four Hands Home. More event-goers arrived and circulated around displays, built by Design Build Adventure, that housed Armstrong's latest collection of jewels.
Armstrong's team christened the event "Unveiled" when they realized that his eponymous collection, which debuted in 2011, wasn't well known in his hometown of Austin. As operations manager Margaret Farris explained, they "wanted to take the opportunity to reintroduce the brand and the collection."
Already a CFDA award-winner for his work as the creative director of Anthony Nak, Armstrong said his goal with his own line is "to create jewelry that doesn't look like jewelry … with dimension and volume akin to clothing."
The pieces on display certainly achieved that aim (as, ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 per piece, they certainly should), radiating a much more soft and organic quality than conventional jewelry. For this collection, Armstrong removed the traditional bezel and, instead, suspended stones in metal frames. "It's very labor-intensive process but one with dramatic results — stone-intensive and multilayered statement pieces that are relatively weightless," said Farris.
The crowd remained at a comfortable size the whole evening, and its energy seemed to become more and more in keeping with the dark, smoky (thanks, Wasson!), sexy environment as the evening wore on. That mood carried the afterparty into the evening, as all drank and danced to live sets by Tameka Jones, featuring renowned trumpet player Ephraim Owens.
But perhaps the person who had the best evening of all was Erin Driscoll, who won the nights' big-ticket raffle and walked home with a luxurious $10,000 pair of Nak Armstrong earrings.
Tribeza hosts its annual Style Show Thursday night at University Park. Tickets available online.