Haute Event: Harry Winston VIP Party

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Vice President of US Sales-Thomas Burstein with Harry Winston models

It was an evening of elegance and indulgence for a special select few. Harry Winston’s annual collection debut for loyal followers and VIP clients took place last Thursday evening at the acclaimed oceanfront haute restaurant, Azure, located at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Oahu, Hawaii.

Upon arrival guests posed for pics on the red carpet before being greeted with a handshake from host of the night, Tom Burstein, New York-based vice president of U.S. sales for the luxe, renowned jeweler. Sidekicks and HI-based team members, salon director James Schaefer and sales director Ken Kashiki also shared in the hugs and hellos as guests were greeted with the party’s signature cocktail, a French 75 infused with a bit of Hawaiian inspiration a la Blue Curacao.

During an hour-long cocktail reception, the glitterati enjoyed eye-ing diamond and precious stone styles donned by elegant models, a preview before the formal fashion show, which took place during the eight-course dinner to follow. Until then, we were treated with teasers both in collection and culinary delights.

After a brief word from the hosts, attendees took to their seats. I lucked out with a prime position next to the vice president himself, whom I affectionately dubbed Tommy, making for fun, up-close and personal experience during the two-hour meal. In addition to trading our beloved New York City haunts we discussed what makes Harry Winston so haute. “Harry Winston, the man, the company is really the father of modern jewelry design. In the ’30s and ’40s he revolutionized luxury jewelry insisting that diamonds, emeralds, sapphires — the gemstones shape the design of the style. This ethos carries through to modern day collections,” opines Burstein. Winston famously said, “If I could I would attach diamonds directly to a woman’s skin.”

Award winning chef Jon Matsubara pulled out all the stops for the special bunch with a menu featuring steamed Kona abalone, ocean cappuccino of Dungeness crab and black tiger shrimp, and caramelized day boat scallop risotto. During our second entrée of decadent prime rib eye steak we delighted in a fashion show featuring the contemporary New York collection plus select vintage styles most of which were sourced by Burstein himself. I had my eye on the one-of-a-kind styles especially a unique ruby and diamond scroll necklace. Known for their high quality wrist-watches, the evening’s featured timepieces were a major hit. The ladies jeweled watches were show-stoppers; the Talk to Me watch was contemporary cool. The Ocean collection is Burstein’s stylish yet functional fave, and the famous Opus series is most sought-after by collectors as this group debuts a partnership with a different well-known watch maker per year.

Following the show, models graced the tables. While we were indulging in sinfully sweet strawberry crepes prospective shoppers got try and/or buy the styles of their liking. “The purpose was to have a beautiful evening with Harry Winston Hawaii customers. We didn’t want to host just another event, but make the night extra special with an intimate beachfront dinner. Make it memorable,” proclaimed Burstein. And memorable it was!

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