Celebrate Style Showcased A Chic Runway Benefit In An Ode To Cancer Survivors
Celebrate Style proved to be a beautiful celebration of cancer survivors and a glamorous display of fall fashion, featuring a sophisticated program that went off without a hitch. What made the night so powerful was its recognition of local cancer survivors and its sponsorship of nearby research institutions, making its purpose feel very rooted in the city of St. Louis.
The two programs at Siteman Cancer Center to benefit from the night’s proceeds are the Young Women’s Breast Cancer Program which conducts research and provides support, education and creative activities for patients, along with the Discovery Fund which identifies and supports promising new research.
To complement the noble cause of the evening was the sophisticated setting of the Contemporary Art Museum. Rows of seats lined a backdrop of large-scale monochromatic works of contemporary art and featured gift bags filled with cosmetics and accessories. Tables of sweet pastries and glass vases full of brightly colored candies lined the cocktail space while a large raffle featured overflowing baskets of gift cards to featured boutiques and restaurants, shopping parties, Michael Kors accessories, cosmetics and photography sessions. Even the museum’s main galleries were open, allowing guests to admire work by featured artists Hurvin Anderson and Wyatt Kahn. Directly adjoining the galleries and runway was a patio perfect for taking in the scene and enjoying the balmy night; men in sleek sport coats and women in tailored dresses sipped cocktails along the museum’s lush moss garden.
Models in the fashion show included industry regulars, local students and cancer survivors alike, forming a diverse group that strutted the runway to upbeat techno pop. They were fresh-faced and relaxed in their hair, styled by Philip Johnson Salon, allowing the focal point to be their clothes. Presenting retailers and designers included Splash, Calvin Klein, Ivy Hill, The Gap, Paperdolls, Dimvaloo, Apricot Lane, Paulie Gibson and Michael Shead. With dozens of looks sent down the runway, it was easy to notice the emergence of several trends, some a continuation of what worked last season and others up-and-coming.
Fringe is one of those styles that hasn’t quite completed its moment yet; two cross-body bags in camel and turquoise and a taupe suede jacket featured the trend. Suede also popped up in a shift dress and shorts, and continuing its reign for another season was the denim overall, featured Friday night over a chunky knit. Floral printed rompers were reminiscent of the last days of summer and oversized sweaters previewed the first brisk days of fall. Knee-high boots, brick red pants, peasant blouses and graphic print separates rounded out the list of highlights for the women’s looks.
For men, denim also dominated the runway, most notably in the form of a jacket with a shearling collar. Denim on denim and the reappearance of flannel with combat boots made a clear statement about the return of grunge as a leading fall trend, taking a cue from New York Fashion Week. Prints were less abstract for menswear and aztec designs appeared on sweaters and button-downs.
In perhaps the most beautiful moment of the night, models and survivors walked out for an encore, carrying bouquets of flowers and plaques emblazoned with the number of years they had been cancer-free. Radiant and healthy, they brought the whole crowd to its feet, clapping for a group that will hopefully grow many-fold in the coming years.