The Launch Party for Macy’s Passport presents Glamorama was all I had hoped it would be and more! The illustrious host committee who supported this beloved event spread the word, showed up and played all night! The love in the room for this event was obvious and Ronald McDonald, who was on hand to greet arriving guests on the red carpet, was smiling ear to ear the entire evening! The venue, Gallery 225 (225 W. Hubbard), was a perfect corner location, easily accessible and with tons of parking and, after the sun went down, the floor to ceiling windows glowed with a multitude of colors (created by Five Star Audio/Visual) and showcased the fun and excitement happening inside. Almost 300 guests came dressed in their finest fashions for this warm-up party for Glamorama which comes to the Harris Theatre on August 9th. Red velvet ropes guarded the red carpet upon arrival as guests were checked in. For those who hadn’t previously purchased a ticket, they could buy theirs at the door. And then there was Ronald, dressed in his signature shades of red and yellow, he brought a smile to everyone’s faces and was a huge hit with the digital camera and iPhone crowd. Atop the huge center bar (with Tito’s Vodka, etc.) and high boy tables, there were glorious arrangements of brightly colored flowers which echoed the lighting courtesy of everyone’s favorite event planner Debi Lilly. Every party she touches is elevated due to her unlimited creativity and this night was no exception. The right side of the room looked like a scene straight out of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with a sea of sweets displayed on multiple tables. There were Eli’s Frango Mint Cheesecake (sold at Macy’s), Carol’s Cookies, MORE Cupcakes, Hershey’s candy and so much more! The champagne glow bar (courtesy of Wirtz Beverage Group) was a huge hit and as guests carried their drinks throughout the venue, the multi- colored glowing flutes added to the decor. Food for Thought catered the event and offered delicious mini-blue cheese and bacon burgers, mini quinoa veggies burgers, cucumber spring rolls, a ginormous cheese display and more! People waited in line for the popular Action Booth and “Project Runway” designer Peach Carr jumped so hard she broke her finger as she came down too close to the friend next to her! But, being the good sport that she is, she tweeted after “It’s not a good party unless somebody does this” and included a pic of her finger in a splint. LOL! Peach showcased some gorgeous designs on this night including her current passion, maxi dresses. Her black and white one-shouldered cocktail dress was a sensation and was inspired by the music from the ‘70s. Eva Pazola also presented her designs on glamorous models featuring dramatic bell-shaped sleeves over simple, modern shapes. Designer Elda de la Rosa is always a hit at this party (and everywhere else) with her cocktail and evening gowns that were elegant with ruffled fabric details. Archer Townsend showed casual chic designs in black and white. DJ Sye Young kept the crowd moving and is one of my favorite DJs, along with DJ Heavy. They are not only awesome at what they do but Sye always gives back to worthy causes - love him! Rosemary Fanti is another favorite who always makes a party more exciting: She was capturing the guests as they walked the red carpet for Action Booth shots. (My favorite illustration of the night was of Dr. Steven Stryker and Macy’s Andrea Schwartz – they looked like they had walked right out of “The Great Gatsby” movie...so glamorous! I was thrilled to be able to cover this exciting night for my Watch312.com show, “Candid Candace Chicago” – it was fun to interview my friends and discover their passion for this event benefitting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. For the fifth year in a row, Macy’s has chosen this charity as its beneficiary for the most awesome night of fashion in Chicago, Macy’s Passport Presents Glamorama. Sheryl Crow is the featured entertainer for this year’s show, themed “Fashion in a New Light,” that will also showcase designs from Jean Paul Gaultier, Diesel, Weekend Max Mara, Maison Jules, Tommy Hilfiger and more! Cirque du Soleil will also perform live in this hour-long presentation that feels more like a Broadway show than a fashion show! Don’t miss it on August 9th! To order tickets and for more info, please click here! Congrats to RMHC’s event planners extraordinaire for this exciting evening: Christina Thomas and Jaime Holway! I was thrilled to chair this event for the fourth year along with our dynamic host committee! Stay tuned for Watch312.com video coming soon! Congrats to ALL! (To view more pics from this fantastic evening, please click here!)
Fleurotica 2013 was a visual feast at the MCA with almost 500 stylish guests in attendance on June 12th. Co-chaired by Deirdre Koldyke, Whitney Lasky and Shauna Montgomery, this “haute” fashion show featured flowery designs by 30 of Chicago’s top floral and landscape artists. It was thrilling to go behind the scenes and see the hard work the designers were pouring into their creations. I saw popular designer Drew Holitik with his design inspired by strong women and titled “This Women’s Work”. It featured bleached magnolia leaves, orchids and garden roses. Another favorite floral design house, H. Bloom, offered a piece inspired by the fragrance family of Fougere (fern in French). Designers Jenny DeMuth and Kyle Hustedt utilized ferns as a base with orchids and roses for their stunning creation. Anna Held designers Laura Daluga and Brian Skiel’s design was titled “Weeping Willow” and was inspired by their love of avante garde fashion and science fiction. My dear friend Jeff Jonen was representing Mariano’s along with designers Rebecca Eckblad and Jose Llera: Inspired by the Gatsby era, their stunning creation included more than 400 calla lilies! The winning design – judged by Costume Council president Nena Ivon, Factor Models’ Bridget Halanski and couturier Sam Kori George – was Scarlet Petal. Designer Sarah Anderson’s ballgown, titled “Mucha in the Fern Room”, was inspired by 19th century illustrator Alphonse Mucha and was an elegant sea of green ferns complete with a flowing 10-foot fern train. Many of the guests wore inspired fashions in keeping with the evening’s floral theme and included Kristina McGrath, Liz Ryan, Michaela Parrillo, Shelley Farley, Barry Montgomery, Olga Ruda, Suzie and Ross Glickman, Morris Gearring, Toni Canada, Rebecca Besser, Rachel and James De Marte, Stacy Saltzman, Lauren Wyka, Julie Latsko, Scott Bobek, Sophie Bross, Joan Colmar, Helen Melchior, Shawna Owen, Shellie Thompson, Jeanouche Wopinski and Amy Rule among many others. The evening also honored the founding members of the Board of Directors for the Garfield Park Conservatory Gwendolyn Rogers, Rev. Eudora Ramey, Jackie McCay and Mary Nelson. A multi-media presentation by local artist duo Luftwerk, with filmmaker Nick Martin opened the show and featured a video showing the Conservatory as seen from a child’s eyes. Martin thanked co-chair Whitney Lasky in the program book for her “inspired concept” for the child’s journey. (Way to go, Whit!) Another highlight of the show was Meredith Montgomery, Shauna’s 13-year old-daughter, who glided down the runway as “Infinite Beauty.” (And she is!) Performance artist/models were languorously draped on brass beds while models dressed in designs courtesy of Neiman Marcus with jewels by Coomi lined the stairwells. Eunita Rushing, president of the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, spoke movingly about how important the Conservatory is to the communities and that 165,000 people visit this award-winning Chicago treasure yearly. The Conservatory received the National Medal for Museum and Library Service in 2012, the nation’s highest honor conferred for service to the community. The gala grossed approximately $200,000 for the Conservatory which is still rebuilding after 2011 storm and hail damage. For more info and how you can donate, visit www.garfieldconservatory.org. (Fab fotos by Mila Samokhina...click here to view more and see all the fun and flora below on my Watch312.com show, “Candid Candace Chicago”!)
June was such a full month for high-profile fundraisers! The 27th annual Friends of Prentice Gala, “Into the Wild”, was another action-packed night of fun at Navy Pier. Attracting more than 700 guests, proceeds from this event furthered the
organization’s mission of improving the quality of health for women and infants in Chicago and throughout the world. Each year, the FOP Gala brings attention to a particular aspect of the organization’s
mission and this year, the Prentice Ambulatory Care Clinic (PAC) took center stage. “I am humbled to lead this organization, which for the past 27 years, has raised nearly $17 million in leading edge research and significantly
impacted the quality of healthcare provided to women and infants,” said Trina Gordon McCallister, FOP Board president. Event designer nonpareil Derrick Taylor brought this year’s event to a whole new level with the jungle theme. And even though the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier is massive, Derrick managed to
make every guest feel like they were enclosed in a vine-filled jungle complete with oversized backdrops at either end. (Whichever angle photos were taken, there would always be an interesting jungle element
added!) His table decor had guests oohing and ahhing and caused a bottleneck at the entrance as guests stopped to take it all in. Massive tropical plants and trees (some 20 feet tall!) filled your vision and even included small stuffed monkeys clinging to branches as some of the vines even
connected tables. There was a rock cliff complete with a tinsel waterfall that cascaded onto the dance floor. A surprise for the evening were dancing monkeys dressed in custom airbrushed costumes that meandered throughout the crowd and led guests into dinner. A wild, colorful,
choreographed dance number opened the night’s festivities. Greg Dellinger, aka G-Man, was the emcee and auctioneer for the evening. I helped him with the live auction portion and
it’s always a thrill to see the energy and expertise he brings to any event he’s a part of. I was honored to present the Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger platinum and diamond bracelet with 2.95 total carat weight of round brilliant diamonds. A
Tiffany ostrich Genevieve Satchel completed this awesome package that sold for $15K. A Starwood Hotels trip to Peru sold for $9.5 K. Starwood’s Mary Gallo returned again this year to help auction off her incredible donations that also included a wine country trip, a Hawaiian adventure and
a New York stay at the world famous St. Regis Hotel in the brand new Bentley Suite (that also included a car during the stay!). At the last minute, a generous supporter also donated his Blackhawks tickets for the following night’s playoff game which added $4K to the auction revenue. A heads or tails game and a paddle raise followed. Popular cover band Maggie Speaks kept
the crowd on their feet and the highly anticipated gift giveaway had the crowd filling their oversized bags with gifts, noisemakers, beach toys, masks, funny hats and more. Expertly co-chaired by Erica Goldman, Christopher Newton and Donna Socol, the gala event raised more than $1 million! Congrats to all and especially my friend, the rock star event organizer Alex Sabbag! (To view ALL pics, please click here!)
Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and pitchers Chris Sale, Gavin Floyd and Jess Crain “stepped up to the plate” for a rooftop dedication ceremony at the 15-story Ronald McDonald House at 211 E. Grand on June 11th. The ceremony commemorated the White Sox commitment to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana with a significant financial donation and a small-scale replica of U.S. Cellular Field. The rooftop mini baseball diamond will provide much needed respite for families staying at the House, which opened exactly a year ago. The “White Sox Family Field” served as the kick-off for an ongoing partnership between the Chicago White Sox and RMHC-CNI, which will include events like White Sox Day at RMH, RMH Day at U.S. Cellular Field, White Sox volunteer days at the House and special player visits with the children and families at the House. “The White Sox clearly have a passion for helping children,” said RMHC-CNI CEO Doug Porter. “It’s exciting that the scope of their advocacy is now expanding to providing a ‘home away from home’ for the families of children receiving medical care, so that even more of those going through the most challenging times in their lives can stay together. The team’s phenomenal support will help families receiving care at Lurie Children’s and also create a dynamic feature at our world’s largest House, sure to be a hit with families.” White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said, “We can only imagine some of the problems that people here are going through. You all are in our thoughts and prayers. I’m proud that our players do so much more than play baseball. They visit hospitals and schools and do so much good in our communities.” Pitcher Gavin Floyd said, “It’s an honor and a blessing to be here. I know the enjoyment I get out of sports so we’re happy to provide the families with some relief from their problems.” Former RMH family guest little Augie Matthies hit the “first pitch” thrown by White Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd. Chris Sale served as catcher while Jess Crain did the commentary. These wonderful players tirelessly signed baseballs, stood for photos and enjoyed lunch with the families and children at the House. Floyd even gave one of the children the jersey off his back...literally! I was so impressed with their dedication. Other special guests included Howard Pizer (senior executive VP of the White Sox), Christine O’Reilly (senior director of community relations of the White Sox), Women’s Board members MaryAnne Smith, Lesley Prizant Goodman and Carol Beitler, and McDonald’s owner/operator Ken Norgan (who works tirelessly on behalf of the charity). Congrats to the White Sox for making a difference and lighting up the lives of these children! For more info, please visit www.RonaldHouseChicago.org and to see ALL event pics, click here!
James “Big Cat” Williams recently hosted his second annual “Celebrity Bash for Cash” at Cinespace Chicago Film Studio to benefit Big Cat Charities. Outside the entrance, 1920’s era cars (on loan from Midwest Picture Cars) flanked the entrance. In the lead car, two life-size mannequins – Clyde behind the wheel and Bonnie riding shotgun – made arriving guests smile, not to mention Cinespace’s Laura Perlman coming out from behind the cars and startling everyone with her tommy gun. LOL! In keeping with the speakeasy theme, Event Creative’s décor featured box lanterns filled with candles, long wooden tables and sexy lounge seating through the space. Joining Big Cat were former and current Bears and other athletes including Richard Dent, Allan Ellis, Roberto Garza, Olin Kreutz, Jeremy Lincoln, Marc May, Ray McElroy, Marques Sullivan and Donnell Woolford, along with Ashley Hooks (Miss Illinois USA 2012) and reality TV contestant Russ Swan from “Survivor: Samoa” and “Survivor: Philippines”. Emcee Summer Jackson from WCIU kicked off the program talking about the three non-profits Big Cat Charities supports: Deborah’s Place, Maryville Crisis Center and PADS (Providing Advocacy, Dignity, Shelter). Big Cat introduced honorary chair Reverend Tom Behrens, founder of The Night Ministry, a nonprofit which has been helping struggling homeless people on Chicago’s nighttime streets since 1976. As the evening drew to a close, guests were treated to a table of goodies including t-shirts, movie clap boards, Gatsby screen wipes and iPad covers and Big Cat logo chocolates. Love this! For more information on Big Cat Charities, please click here! (Photos by Mike Kenyon, Sum Lau and Larisa Pevtsova...view more pics here!)
Chicago Artists Coalition, the 39-year-old non-profit dedicated to strengthening Chicago’s vibrant arts community, will host its third annual Starving Artist extravaganza on June 29th from 7 p.m. to midnight. This event will pair celebrated local artists with renowned Chicago chefs who will collaborate on edible and aesthetic presentations. They include Theaster Gates, MK’s Erick Williams, Belly Q and Urban Belly’s Bill Kim, Siena Tavern’s Cody Hudson, Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani and so many more! The evening will also feature hand-crafted Hennessy Black cocktails created by artist Marissa Lee Benedict and Hennessey Black brand architect Benjamin Newby. The event will take place at CAC’s West Loop/Fulton Market gallery space (217 N. Carpenter). Tickets begin at $50 with all proceeds benefitting the Coalition’s mission and programs. For information and a video from last year, click HERE.
LOFT came to Michigan Avenue in a big way with a grand opening party attended by 300 guests and hosted by local tastemakers DJ Megan Taylor, Revae Schneider, Catherine De Orio, Samantha Saifer Berngard, Erica Bethe Levin, Jessica Zweig and Liz Schneider. Founded in 1998, this new retail hotspot caters to stylish women looking for fashions at affordable prices. Be sure to check it out at 670 N. Michigan!
I loved seeing the beautiful photos from Kyla and Tim Smithe, Jr.’s wedding in Paris. It was romantic from beginning to end starting with a ceremony in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower and ending on the Ponts des Arts where they placed their love lock. Chuck and I were fortunate to honeymoon in Paris and it truly is one of the most romantic cities in the world. And the best part of honeymooning or getting married there is that you always have the perfect reason to return! Kyla looked exquisite in a vintage 1920’s short bridal dress of ice blue with a lace overlay. Keep on making beautiful memories, Kyla and Tim! Congrats with love!
More much deserved kudos for our beloved scribe Stella Foster upon receiving the “Woman of the Decade/Legend of Print Media” award from the Coalition for United Community Action-O.R.T.C. and its president Carl Latimer on June 7th. WLS-TV’s Cheryl Burton welcomed the crowd and WVON’s Cliff Kelly served as emcee. The evening ended with a steppers’ after-party. Love this woman and miss her in the paper but check out her fabulous website...she has a terrific post about the Paula Deen controversy! Keep up the great work, girlfriend!
Congrats are in order for the new executive director of The Joffrey Ballet, Greg Cameron. Most recently the COO of WTTW/WFMT, Greg brings a wealth of experience to the position. I worked with him on the board of Common Threads and have always been impressed with his seemingly endless knowledge as has anyone who knows him. I know he will make a big impact on this organization. Speaking of new beginnings, more congrats are in order for former Joffrey executive director, beloved Christopher Clinton Conway. He has returned to the sunny clime of California as the vice president of LA County’s Aquarium of the Pacific and director of Pacific Visions, which has a $40 million budget and 1.5 million visitors per year. Christopher’s legacy with the Joffrey will be very hard to beat, we all miss him but I wish Greg all the best! Here’s to a new era for all concerned... :)
Thanks to FOX-32 Midday News for having me on last Monday! I loved talking about and presenting gala fashions with hosts Anna Davlantes and Corey McPherrin for the upcoming Lincoln Park Zoo Ball on July 12th, the Shedd Aquarium’s BLU event on July 27th and the Boys and Girls Club’s Lawn Ball on July 26th! The beautiful fashions were courtesy of Neiman Marcus (Michigan Avenue) and Paul Stuart. See segment below!
Don’t miss the 43rd Annual Gay Pride Parade set for June 30th! I’m thrilled to be riding on the PAWS Chicago float for the second year with longtime PAWS supporters Bonnie Spurlock, Judy Tullman, Cheri
Lawrence, Kimberly Gleeson and so many more! And speaking of PAWS, congrats are in order: For the third year in a row, they were named Best Charity by the Chicago Reader! Hope to see you at the parade!! (For complete info, please click here!)
Happy birthday to my beautiful friend, Nina Mariano: She recently celebrated a blow-out bash at one of her favorite restaurants, Piccolo Sogno. The outdoor garden was perfect on this summer night and the table with its beautiful flowers (by Tom Kehoe) and bundles of balloons had other diners rubber-necking to see what the party was all about. Chef Tony Priolo was on hand to make sure everything was perfect and, of course, it was! Guests included Jan Flanagan, Mary Ann Brumbaugh (who had flown in from L.A. just for the occasion), Dusty Stemer, Laurie Davis, Darby Hills, Gale Gottlieb, Michaela Parrillo (who had artfully wrapped the gift, a chic Hermes bracelet), Robin Tebbe, Toni Canada, Rochelle Trotter, Tracy Scurto and her daughter Tiffany, Rebecca Besser, Liza Sweitzer and Susanna Negovan. Nina’s longtime friend Tracey DiBuono Tarantino offered a loving toast. Another surprise gift included a magnificent portrait by beloved artist, Rosemary Fanti. Here’s to many more happy birthday dinners, Nina! Love you!
It was a thrill to cover the recent Gene Siskel Film Center Gala honoring Academy Award winner Gwyneth Paltrow. Stay tuned for video and print coverage coming soon in my Chicago Tribune “Candid Candace” column and also on my Watch312.com video show, “Candid Candace Chicago”! Hear what Gwyneth had to say about Chicago and who her dream co-star would be! And check out her awesome website here!
Loved the film “Man of Steel” and I especially loved seeing it in the VIP room at the ICON Theatre! Thanks to event planner/PR person extraordinaire Margaret O’Connor, it was an A-list crowd for the premiere of this film and included Chicago Bears Kyle Moore and Henry Melton, WNBA Chicago Sky superstar Elena Delle Donne, Lori Allen, Chad Soderholm, Jennifer Sutton, Dr. Joaquin Brieva, NBA Indiana Pacers Center, Miles Pumlee, Michi Marshall (wife of Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall), Debi Lilly (A Perfect Event), Chaz Walters (one of Coldwell Banker Real Estate’s top brokers), Sean Cannon (owner Event Creative) and Greg Gulik (one of the pioneers of Internet spam wear) among many others! (Watch for Margaret’s next big event coming soon with details coming soon in this column!!) The day after the screening, Elena Delle Donne (who was the second round draft pick for the Chicago Sky) and Sylvia Fowles (two-time Olympic gold medalist) presented met Mayor Emanuel with a team-signed Chicago Sky jersey. Cool, huh? :)
That’s the 411 on 312 this week! I hope you’ve enjoyed it and I hope you will sign up for my blog alert here, which is completely spam-free and you can opt out at any time...BUT I hope you won’t! Enjoy the summer and, until next time, live every minute like it’s your last.
Love, as always,