The Office Max Green Tie Ball just keeps getting bigger and better! I didn’t think they could top last year’s theme – “The Wizard of Oz” – but with the fantastic addition of Red Moon Theater Company, “Alice in Wonderland” came to life this year for more than 3,000 guests. From the moment you entered the steel factory grounds of A. Finkl & Sons, you knew magic was afoot when you walked the GREEN carpet! Dramatic visuals thrilled your senses everywhere you looked beginning with striking artwork from this classic book streaming down the sides of the tent as you entered the grounds. The Mad Hatter’s tent made me gasp as I saw oversized lamps and fabulous scenes projected on every wall. And the FOOD! There were more than 70 food stations and I don’t mean little tastings: This was REAL food prepared by chefs who wanted to be noticed. Rub BBQ Company served a BBQ martini consisting of coleslaw, cornbread, baker beans and smoked pork shoulder all in one cup! Zapatista’s carnitas on rice flower tortillas with jalapenos was mouthwatering and Flo & Santos served ravarogi (meat pierogies) with vodka cream sauce. Thank goodness I didn’t get to ALL 70 restaurants, although I did see great stuff from Frog & Snail, GT Fish & Oyster, III Forks, Rosebud, 25 Degrees, Province, Frontier and Public House. I was especially touched by the offerings from the sweet kids from Bethlehem Lutheran Church who were on hand from the After School Matters’ Culinary Arts Program. Proud ASM Culinary Director/Chef Gloria Hafer said, “These students are special to us and I know they will succeed because of the concern of the people here who have taken an interest in the program. I’m working diligently through ASM to promote self-esteem, excellence, and appreciation of the culinary arts.” Students in the program prepared, displayed and served more than 2,000 “Alice in Wonderland”-themed cookies and cakes. I watch a lot of master chef shows and these kids could teach them a thing or two from what I saw on this night. Shannon Roche, Gisel Bahena, Abigail Garcia, Lily Harris and Omar Cardenas proudly displayed their works of art and told me how important the program was to them. Gisel plans on working in the culinary arts and Omar was happy to have a place to go that would keep him “off the streets.” Abigail commented on the fun she had and how much she loved learning how to cook. This was sheer genius by the event organizers to add these kids so they could highlight this worthy organization! Of the 50 world-renowned chefs invited to this event, After School Matters was the only teen initiative asked to participate. The event was emceed for the second year by “Windy City Live” hosts Valerie Warner and Ryan Chiaverini. When I interviewed them for Watch312.com, they were so excited about expanding to the weekend, with a Sunday edition coming soon. Ryan jokingly said, “You will be sick of us soon like my parents.” They are too cute for words, as we all know! Corri McFadden, glam e-Drop Off founder and star of VH1’s “House of Consignment,” and Donald Storino, principal and co-founder of the government affairs firm Fidelity Consulting Group, served as co-chairs. This event benefitted Chicago Gateway Green, which was founded by Donald DePorter in 1986. His son, Grant DePorter, President of Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group and Chairman of Gateway Green, carries on his father’s tradition in grand style. “As Gateway Green’s signature fundraising event, the Green Tie Ball not only raises our mission but also serves as the catalyst for our ongoing beautification programs, including the Expressway Partnership, for which proceeds from this year’s gala will be directed.” The night also included top notch dance music from deejays Justin Jacobson (founder and impresario of Platinum Events), Rock City and former Fall Out Boy bassist and half of the Black Cards duo, Pete Wentz. He showed up on the green carpet around 9:45 p.m. with gorgeous arm candy, Meagan Camper. My friend and celebrity stylist Eric Himel styled them both to perfection saying, “For Pete, I wanted to do something different other than rocker attire.” Wentz was decked out in a fabulous forest green suit from Oak Street’s SuitSupply with a bow tie. When I asked him how he liked his outfit, he said, “I feel a little Farrakhan-ish but that’s okay, I'm a fan.” He was dancing and tweeting pics of the crowd as he deejayed. So cute! Meagan was in a sleek black dress from Top Shop with green Alexis Bittar earrings. Such a stylish pair! I loved Eric’s outfit, too, that featured a green skull necklace on a leather cord from Beatnik's, a great store in Lakeview. Entertainment included live performances from Chicago cover bands Dr. Bombay and South of 80. Co-host Ryan Chiaverini thrilled the crowd when he got onstage to sing his now signature song, “Sweet Home Alabama.” The Rivers Casino tent featured craps, blackjack and roulette. There was also a Red Moon bubble-blowing, mobile DJ, an Office Max photo booth filled with “Alice in Wonderland” props and “Hawk Man,” who hovered over the crowd on a 20-foot crane flapping his massive, feathered wings (also from Red Moon). Partygoers happily fell right down the rabbit hole at this party! Executive producer for this magical night was “The Food Dude,” David Lissner, who is also a board member of Chicago Gateway Green. This magical night raised $450K to benefit Chicago Gateway Green. (Photos by Mila Samokhina and Steve Starr...to see other photos in my Chicago Tribune column by Beth Rooney, please click here and to see all of the magic, WATCH my Watch312.com video right HERE!)
Handsome shoe god Brian Atwood celebrated his new campaign and first flagship store at 655 Madison Avenue in New York with a star-filled celebration at the Four Seasons Restaurant on Wednesday, September 5th. More than 700 guests mixed with A-list celebs as DJ Mick Boogie played hot mixes but nothing could be hotter than the sky high heels so coveted around the globe by this charming designer who is adored by all. Since its 2001 debut, the Brian Atwood Collection has instilled shoe lust in a legion of fans for its infusion of glamour, exquisite craftsmanship, hyperluxe design and attention to detail. His award-winning styles have earned him the CDA Swarovski Perry Ellis Award for Best Accessory Design and the 2010 Footwear News Designer of the Year Award. His first global campaign this past summer, a print campaign and companion fashion film tell the story of the modern woman's desire for fantasy and control. The new fall print and video campaign were shot together in London by Mert & Marcus with creative direction by Giovanni Bianco and feature supermodel Candice Swanepoel. The fashion film, The Sex is in the Heel video series, is a voyeuristic flashback by a mysterious seductress reliving the previous night's fantasy and will be a part of the film section on the newly redesigned website. I imagine this is exactly how women feel after a night of wearing a pair of Brian Atwoods! In honor of the evening, DeLeon Tequila presented four signature cocktails: Maniac, The Sex is in the Heel, Midnight Purple and The Atwood. Ahhhhhh, so cute! Guests seen at the celebration included Heidi Klum, Rachel Zoe, Kim Kardashian, Rachel Roy, Ryan Lochte, Paris Hilton, Nicky Hilton, Nate Berkus, Hannah Bronfman, Estelle, Gabrielle Union, Katie Lee, Candice Swanepoel, Giovanni Bianco, Kelly Killoren Bensimon, proud parents Yolanda (Dusty) and Dr. Alex Stemer, Abby and Dr. Jim Lipton, Toni and Rick Canada, Nina Mariano, beautiful sister Jordan Stemer and Jackson Miranda, darling brother Zack Stemer, longtime friend milliner Loreta Corsetti, Peter Kousothanos, Nina Aversa, Stephanie Weiss, Andi Laidlaw, Cameron Laidlaw, Jerimiah and Brian's handsome husband, Dr. Jake Deutsch. It was a joy-filled affair filled with beautiful people. Long may you reign, Shoe God Brian Atwood – can't wait for your first store opening at 655 Madison Avenue coming October 4th!!!
I love TCW Magazine and I’m so thrilled to be celebrating their 30th anniversary with them on October 30th with a party benefitting 30 charities in town that assist women and children in need! Leave it to Sherren Leigh to come up with this clever idea for her party which will also include a silent auction called Pumpkins on Parade. Faux “funkin” pumpkins will be decorated by local “celebrities” to be auctioned off. I must say she corralled me for this funkin decorating and I tried but had to relinquish my duties to my dear friend (and crafty genius), Tissy Eggleston. So, even though I will have a pumpkin entered, just know it was a collaborative effort! LOL! There will also be an open bar, food stations, a live band with guests encouraged to wear costumes. Tickets are $150 and I know this will be ONE event you shouldn’t miss! Happy birthday, TCW!
PR News recently awarded a BIG honor to Chicago’s own Kathleen Henson and her creative Henson Consulting firm with National Small PR Firm of the Year! They also won nationally for best Anniversary Campaign for Lettuce Entertain You’s 40th anniversary last summer. Kathleen started her firm 12 years ago in her basement with just a laptop, a phone and a rolodex after her first child, Emily (she now has FIVE!) was only nine months old! I can’t wait to see where this dynamic redhead with a heart of gold flies to next! Congrats to you KH and to Henson Consulting on all of your great work!
A venerable who’s who of Chicago traveled north to the private 230-acre Evergreen Farm owned by JB and MK Pritzker on Saturday, September 6th, to witness one of the Midwest’s most esteemed equestrian events, the Evergreen Invitational. Hosted by MK and The Women’s Board of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and presented by Northern Trust, this fourth biennial equestrian charity exclusive “by-invite-only” event attracted more than 600 guests who came to support the elegant sport and witness nationally and internationally ranked riders compete. More than $1.1 million was raised from this year’s event with proceeds benefitting under-funded women’s health programs at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. To date, the Evergreen Invitational has raised more than $4 million. The $25K Junior/Amateur Owner Classic kicked off the event with Meagan Nusz winning on horse, Vesuvius. The $75K Grand Prix blue ribbon went to Laura Linback and horse Whittaker MVNZ. In between the two events, hundreds of guests were spotting enjoying the mild weather and admiring some of the exquisite Graff jewels on display or lusting after a number of Ferraris dotting the property (which were available for test drives courtesy of Lake Forest Sportscars). A promenade of shops featured merchandise from Lee Allison Company, Escada, Fabbri Furs, Chicago Luxury Beds and dozens more. A lavish buffet lunch was catered by beloved George Jewell of George Jewell Catering. Guests seen on the scene included Mimi Olson (President of the WB of Northwestern), co-chairs Joan Moore and Christy Cressey, Meredith Wood-Prince, Nora Daley with husband Sean Conroy, Mich Mag’s J.P. Anderson and Dan Uslan, Neal Zucker, Leslie Hindman and Tempel Smith, Traci and Mario Tricoci, Jr. and family, Estelle Walgreen, Quintin Primo, Mayari Pritzker, Susan and Joe Ahern, Dr. Kris and Tricia Rooney Alden, Thea Robinson, Dean Harrison, Julie Selakovich, Curt Bailey, Christy Cressey, Barbara Bluhm-Kaul, Cassie Gavin, Blair Spencer, Bethany Paris, Linda Yu and Stuart Ellison, Susie and Walter Jacobson, Lisa and Jeffrey Aronin, Tom Cole, Denise and Adam Hoeflich and Stephen and Diane Falk. (Photos by Mariah Smith...to view more pics, please click here!)
Members of the Field Museum Women’s Board are immersing themselves in Indian culture as they prepare for the annual gala on October 13th, “The Maharaja Ball.” The gala, co-chaired by Kathleen Carbonara and Susan Faurot, will celebrate the museum’s opening of “Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts” exhibit coming in November. The exhibit is organized by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The first of two high profile kick-off events was hosted by Patrick and Shirley Ryan at their Winnetka home with more than 50 women in attendance for the annual invitation stuffing party, “House in the Garden.” The second event was hosted by bestselling Indian cookbook author and former Chicago TV reporter Anupy Singla, who gave a cooking demo and prepared an Indian lunch for the Women’s Board. She schooled the Board in the fine points of Indian cuisine and cooked recipes from her newest cookbook, “Vegan Indian Cooking.” A trip along Devon Avenue for sari shopping was included! This gala is sure to be a sellout so please click here for tickets and more info. Congrats to all of the hardworking Women’s Board members!
Primo Classico d’Italia, a benefit for the Primo Center, will take place at Diane and Quintin Primo’s home in Lake Forest on Sunday, September 30th between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. There will be new and vintage Ferraris along with beautiful models and great Italian food prepared and donated by leading Chicago restaurants such as Pelago, Prosecco, Tocco, Florentine, Volare and Fred’s. Proceeds from this event will directly benefit homeless women and children who rely on the services of the Primo Center. For tickets and more info, please click here!
What do you get when you combine a Grammy Award-winning female a cappella group with a youth orchestra ensemble led by President Obama’s first nominee to the National Council of the Arts? I would call it one magnificent night in Chicago at the Harris Theater! On Thursday, October 4th only, they will debut a performance by Sphinx Virtuosi with Sweet Honey in the Rock and the Chicago Children’s Choir with a premiere of its new work, Affirmations for a New World. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are only $10 to $35! For tickets and more information, please visit www.harristheaterofchicago.org.
The 57th Gold Coast Fashion Award show, the signature fundraising event of The Children’s Service Board, an affiliated organization of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, will be at the Hilton Chicago, located at 720 S. Michigan, on Friday afternoon, September 28th beginning at 11 a.m. with a cocktail reception. Emerging designers will compete for the coveted Gold Coast Fashion Award with audience members casting their votes. Last year’s winner, Fabiola Arias, will open the show with her fall collection and designers Lyn Devon, Tess Giberson, Wes Gordon, Stacy Lomnan, Misha Nonoo, Rolando Santana, Verlaine and Rubin Singer will be competing for the 2012 award. Retail partners this year include Chalk, Mark Shale, McElroy Furs, Neiman Marcus, Perchance, Frances Heffernan and Saks Fifth Avenue. David Yurman will once again host the Grand Staircase entrance during the cocktail hour with displays of fabulous jewelry. Tickets begin at $200 and can be purchased by visiting www.gcfas.com.
Now in its sixth year, Latino Fashion Week will premier its 2012 tour with the theme “Images of Fashion.” Co-founded by Arabel Rosales and Cesar Rolon, Jr., the tour will include Dallas, Chicago and Miami, and will honor photographers and videographers involved in the exhibition. Highlighted in the Chicago exhibit is globally renowned fashion photographer, Daniel Garriga. This five-day event will include runway shows, celebrity appearances, VIP receptions, a one-day Fashion Lounge and Expo, and much more! The Kick-Off event, “Lights, Camera, Fashion: A Red Carpet Media Party,” will be at Zhou B Art Center, located at 1029 W. 35th St. on Tuesday, October 9th beginning at 5:30 p.m. (For tickets and more info, please call 773.865.7313 or 773.251.3329.
And now someone you should know! London-based Chef Eric Lanlard is coming to the Windy City on Tuesday, October 30th, to celebrate the launch of his latest book, “Tart it Up!”(Don’t you just love this title!?) Eric is a master patissier and two-time winner of the prestigious Continental Patissier of the Year at the British Baking Awards. Having trained in France, Eric moved to London where he ran the patisserie business for Albert and Michel Roux. For the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, he was commissioned to create a recipe (The Elizabeth Sponge) for the celebration! Eric has also appeared in a number of TV series, including top Brit hit, “Glamour Puds,” that have helped him build a global fan base. He’s charming and witty with four books under his belt (so far): “Master Cakes,” “Cox,” “Cookies & Cakes,” “Cake Boy” and his latest, “Tart it Up!” Hosted by Jean Zivkovic and Don Newcomb, a champagne reception (with delicious gourmet tastings) is planned at the Ritz Carlton Club (located at 160 E. Pearson) on October 30th. So please come meet my “sweet” friend and "Tart It Up!" (For reservations – $99 – please call 312.777.1090.)
The Chicago Artists' Coalition presents its Starving Artist benefit on Saturday, October 6th at 217 N. Carpenter St. beginning at 7 p.m. Artists and chefs will be paired to inspire a dish that’s served at the event and a piece of artwork that results will be auctioned off. There will be a charcuterie battle and food installations. Participants will include food preservationist Tara Lane, artists Laura Letinsky, Jeanne Dunning, Erik Peterson, Jenny Kendler and chefs Jared Van Camp, Erling Wu-Bower and Beverly Kim. For tickets (beginning at $150), please visit www.2012starvingartist.com.
The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business recently hosted a day-long seminar series that included a fascinating personal branding segment with keynote speakers Jan Anne Dubin (principal of Jan Anne Dubin Consulting) and Joycelyn Winnecke (Chicago Tribune vice president and associate editor). I was even more thrilled when she included me as a “Personal Branding Pro” along with Christie Hefner, Amy Guth, Cheryle Jackson, Sherren Leigh, Dr. Lauren Streicher, Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, Jeanne Gang, Ron Culp and Bridget Brennan. It was an honor to be included and introduced to the standing room only crowd! Congrats to Jan and Joyce on a thrilling talk! And speaking of the Chicago Tribune, I hope you enjoyed the new format for my Sunday Candid Candace column! :)
The 9th Annual Chicago Canine Rescue (CCR) Mutt Strutt is set for Saturday, September 29th. Dog lovers and their four-legged friends are invited for a 1.5-mile walk followed by a block party with food, entertainment and more! NBC 5’s Kye Martin will be the celebrity emcee of the event. (For more info, please visit www.chicagocaninerescue.org.)
The 8th Annual Silver Lining Event will be held on Saturday, October 6th, at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, located at 2233 S. Martin Luther King Dr., beginning at 6:30 p.m. This black tie event will be held in the Regency Ballroom and will present darling Sonya Jackson with the EVY Award! Founded in 2002 by Dr. Sandy Goldberg in honor of her late mother, A Silver Lining Foundation provides cancer resource information and outreach as well as providing funding for free screening mammograms for uninsured and underinsured women and men at seven partner hospitals. Can’t wait to celebrate your honor Sonya for this great cause! (For tickets and more info, please click here.)
Whew, talk about an action packed month! I hope you’ve had a chance to enjoy some of these fun events or I hope I will see you at an upcoming one soon! Also, please follow me on Twitter (@CandidCandace) for breaking news from around this beautiful town!
Love, as always,
P.S. Huge congrats to beautiful Mable Buckner, who has recently been promoted to President and CEO of the Streeterville Chamber of Commerce!!! They are SO lucky to have YOU, Mable! Congrats!