Monday, June 3, 2013 | 3:34 p.m.
The stars dazzled and sparkled as bright as the bling of baubles and beads they wore for the big JCK party of the annual jewelry designers convention. Each year, Simon Ghanimian, known simply as Simon G., the 31-year jeweler to the stars, throws the Simon G. Jewelry Summer Soiree, the biggest shindig to kick off the weekend-long Las Vegas showcase.
It’s rumored that more than $1 billion in stones and jewelry are on display — and under guard 24 hours a day — at the exhibition booths and display lounges, regarded as the world’s largest gems gathering under one roof. Simon G. moved his celebration from Azure Pool at the Palazzo last year inside to the neighboring Tao in The Venetian, and what a shindig it was.
Contributing photographer Erik Kabik was on duty to capture a slew of stars, including Jenny McCarthy, Holly Madison, Paula Abdul with stunning hoop earrings, Audrina Patridge showing a knockout gold necklace with Corey Bohan, Petra Murgatroyd in pink; Gilles Marini with wife Carole, Katrina Bowden, La La Vasquez and Catt Sadler.
I ran into “Extra” TV host Mario Lopez the moment I arrived and, glowing with pride, he couldn’t wait to show me his wife Courtney’s baby bump. On behalf of all our Vegas DeLuxe readers, I offered our congratulations for No. 2.
Tao threw a party with nonstop champagne and passed hors d’oeuvres, but the real surprise of the night came when my longtime favorites The Village People put on a surprise show with their hits “YMCA,” “In the Navy,” “Macho Man,” “Go West” and more.
Formed in 1977 with Native American Felipe Rose, the group and he are still going strong touring the world 35 years later. Felipe told me the group’s first record since those early days, “Back to the Dance Floor,” will be released next month; it was written by Harry Casey of KC & The Sunshine Band and produced by DJ Julian Marsh.
“It’s full of all the original sound, vitality and dance energy we had when we first started out,” he said.
JCK, with more than 2,500 manufacturers and designers from 32 countries and with 300 new exhibitors and 240 high-end luxury design collections at Mandalay Bay, began Friday and ends tonight. Among the other stars spotted there: Ivanka Trump and Dan Marino, with Maroon 5 performing Sunday night at the Mandalay Bay Beach party under the stars.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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In the spirit of Venice, The Venetian is a little piece of romantic Italy right here in Las Vegas. The Venetian is an "all-suite" hotel, with rooms accented with plush linens and Italian marble. The 4,027 suites are divided into two towers: The 36-story Venetian Tower that offers guests a taste of luxurious Las Vegas and the Venezia suites, which guarantee 12 floors of high-end elegance. The top five floors are the hotel's highest level of luxury with its private access, concierge lounge, upgraded features and even a dedicated staff.
The flagship of Venetian nightlife is TAO, an ultra-hip nightclub located inside of TAO Asian Bistro. V Bar is The Venetian's super smooth ultra lounge, made by the owners of New York City's club Lotus and Los Angeles' super swank Sunset Room.
The Venetian features 19 restaurants including Thomas Keller's award-winning French restaurant Bouchon, Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante, Aquaknox for fresh seafood and the 42,000 square foot TAO Asian Bistro. There's also the food court inside the Canal Shoppes for those looking for a quick bite.
Guests can float along The Grand Canal Shops in an authentic Italian gondola ride and pass stores like Burberry and Kenneth Cole along the way. And if you haven't caught a real celeb, on the street in Vegas, you can head over to Madame Tussauds to check out a wax version.