Getting a jump on St. Valentine, love was celebrated in great style last week at a big-hearted party toasting the engagement of PR pro Allison Speer and Dr. Fred Moll, founder and CEO of Hansen Medical.
Hosted by Alexis and Trevor Traina and Sloan and Roger Barnett, their sweet party invitation encouraged guests to dress in, Red, Red and More Red!
So it was that a sartorial red-hued sea washed over the sleek black-and-white tiled and glass-walled solarium in the Traina’s gracious and glamorous home.
“I mentioned to Allison that I’d found her the perfect party dress for tonight,” said Allison’s mom, Susan Niven of Los Angeles.
While Allison was, of course, grateful, she told her mom that a new dress wasn’t necessary.
As mother-and-daughter are the same size, mom continued with fittings in LA to ensure the dress fit Allison perfectly. Just in case.
Sometimes, mother does know best. Especially as the bride-to-be was a Hepburn-esque vision in a fire-engine red Oscar de la Renta cocktail dress.
“That’s why I packed a black ‘back-up’ dress,” said Susan, as she delighted in Allison’s red-hot party frock. “Tonight is Allison’s night!”
The men donned mostly black, with red accents. Except for Trevor’s father, John Traina, who boldly broke out an eye-popping, head-to-toe red suit.
“John’s already changed suits twice tonight,” said Trevor’s mom, Fine Arts Museums’ Board President Dede Wilsey, laughing. “There was no way he was going to wear this suit earlier at the opening-night of the Luxury exhibition at the Legion of Honor!”
But leave it to Alexis, a definite hostess-with-the-mostess, to creatively personify this spirit of love.
Hostess Alexis Traina (in heart) with (standing, from left) Trevor Traina, Sloan Barnett, Allison Speer and Dr. Fred Moll
Dressed in balletic black tights and accessorized with strappy red shoes and a black, ‘40s-style netted chapeaux, Alexis capped her creation with a gigantic, bright-red, quilted, double-sided sandwich board in the shape of a heart which hung from her shoulders.
So witty and creative was Alexis’ ensemble, Beach Blanket Babylon producer Jo Schuman Silver might just want to give this gal an audition.
Old friends, family and fans of the couple noshed on tasty tidbits by the Barnett’s chef, James Ormsby, and sipped cool Cachaça-based cocktails created by Greg Lindgren and his masterful Mixology mixers.
Everyone’s favorite (OK, well, maybe just mine)? The clever citrus-flavored Shot of Love served in a test tube.
Mingling amid the cool cadences spun by DJ Frank Rempe was the popping sound of burst balloons as guests gaily grabbed tails of the bright-red orbs floating against the solarium’s glass ceiling as they participated in the invitation’s prescribed, Shameless Shimmying.
Welcoming their guests, Trevor Traina led a series of toasts to the couple but first teased, “Unlike me, you can clearly see that my wife wears her heart on her sleeve!”
He recalled when Allison first started regularly including her then-new beau to the gang’s gatherings.
“We started seeing more and more of Fred,” said Trevor, “And because we love Ali, of course, we began talking about the two of them behind their back!”
Fortunately, the pals all decided this pair was perfect together. Especially as Fred has proven to be a touchstone of calm to his fiancée’s often frantic schedule.
“Ali is what you would call ‘indefatigable.’ Somewhat like myself -- ready to go out on any night of the week,” explained Trevor, to knowing laughter. “But when you call Ali now, her answer is often along the lines of, ‘Oh, Fred and I are going to stay in tonight and make soup. Or, ‘We just got a new Weber and we’re going to stay home and try it out this weekend’.”
Sloan Barnett heralded Ali’s acumen as both businesswoman and friend: “When you’re planning an event, Allison not only brings great ideas to the table and the best rolodex in town -- she’ll also loan you a dress from her closet!”
But the sweetest toast was saved for last, when Fred raised his glass to his betrothed.
“Ambrose Bierce famously described love as, ‘A temporary insanity, curable by marriage’,” exclaimed the good doctor. “I adore Ali. And now that everyone knows how crazy I am about her, I look forward to the cure!”
Check out more photos below.
Sloan Barnett, Ali's mom, Susan Niven (of LA) and Roger Barnett.
Big-hearted hosts Alexis and Trevor Traina
Kate Harbin and her husband, Adam Clammer
Gretchen Leach and O.J. Shansby
Angelique Griepp and Susan Dunleavy
Dede Wilsey, Diane Kelly and John Traina