It’s no secret that I’m madly in love with Villa Vizcaya and its history. It’s truly the most majestic setting in Miami for a grand gala. Built in 1910 as a private home by millionaire industrialist and Miami pioneer, James Deering, it was the destination for many a decadent black tie or costume bash and his guests included fellow tycoons, celebrities and top politicians — the VIPs of the time. The annual Vizcaya Ball is always glam but I especially loved this year’s theme, “A Return to the Gilded Age and All That Glitters.”
Going to Vizcaya is like stepping back in time to Deering’s divinely opulent way of entertaining, where no detail, from the menu to the decorations, was overlooked. As we exited our car we were handed champagne to enliven the walk up the dramatic, 200-foot long red carpet to the villa. The evening began with a stylish cocktail reception inside the courtyard, complete with a lavish seafood bar that included mounds of succulent lobster tails. The Aurora Strings, a string ensemble from the Florida Youth Orchestra, played lively party music from the era as the bubbly continued to flow. Our Miami society ladies really dress to the nines and bring out all the glam for this ball, I think, to honor the surroundings. (Couture, check. Jewels to die, check.) I mean, you have to.
The glittery Gilded Age theme was carried throughout the dinner, which was set up under a clear tent, with gold-leafed ballroom chairs, around tables draped in sheer black covered in gold paillettes that shimmered in the candlelight. Place settings were anchored with gold beaded chargers and tall, gilded trumpet vases adorned with crystals held massive arrangements of lush, all-white hydrangeas, roses and Casablanca lilies and white chandeliers hung from the tent ceiling with the creative menu by Thierry’s Catering. Everything absolutely sparkled. Mr. Deering would have approved. After a breathtaking fireworks display off the barge on Biscayne Bay we continued to dance late into the wee hours — even though it rained most of the night — it was still magical!
The very elegant ball committee members were Lesli Ann Brown, Sonia Gibson, Linda Levy Goldberg, Cathy L. Jones, Nicole Lozano, Christina Martin, William Meyersohn, James W. Murphy, Alexa Wolman and Suzy Buckley Woodward with grande dame Swanee DiMare serving as Honorary Chair. Other guests included Susan and Anthony Abraham, Jr., Pearl Baker-Katz, Terry Buoniconti, Laurie Evans, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens Trust Chairman Ray MaGhee, Aislyn and Scott McDonald, M.D., Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Jean Monestime, Chris Pederson, Migna Sanchez-Llorens and Diane Sepler. Proceeds from the silent auction and gala support the ongoing protection and preservation of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
The Vizcaya Preservation Luncheon is coming up in early 2016 and make sure you save the date for next year’s Vizcaya Ball to be held on Saturday, November 19, 2016.
For tickets or more information on events and how to get involved to support Vizcaya Museum and Gardens please go to www.vizcaya.org
PHOTOS: ZOLTAN PREPSZENT