March Madness

Charity season still in full swing!

As the Miami social season moves ever-closer to its conclusion, Allison Weiss Brady was on the scene with a few primetime events: Destination Fashion, a Neiman Marcus fashion show and Art for Life Miami Beach.

Jerry Rice, Scottie Pippen, Carl Lewis

Destination Fashion at the Bal Harbour Shops presented a who’s who of local philanthropic women as “Women of Substance and Style” at an incredible event to benefit The Miami Project/Buoniconti Fund. I attended to support Christina Getty-Maercks, who graced the runway with other major league charity patrons, including Madeleine Arison, Adrienne Arsht, Nancy Batchelor, Diane de Olazarra, Alice Fisher Edelman, Raysa Fanjul, Elsie Howard, Kandy Kramer, Edie Laquer, Loren Ridinger, Chris Riley and Mary Anne Shula – both escorted down the runway by husbands Pat Riley and Don Shula – and more.

The star-powered event, hosted by Tommy Lee Jones and wife Dawn, featured Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Anna Kornikova (sporting a huge yellow diamond ring on her right hand), former NFL legend and “Dancing with the Stars” contestant Jerry Rice, golf legend Jack Nicklaus, Scottie Pippen, and teen reality star Clay Adler from MTV’s “Laguna Beach.”

Stewart Rahr, one of the event’s major underwriters, while on stage, gave an impromptu $1 million gift to the Buoniconti Fund! You should have seen Nick B’s jaw drop in shock and excitement once he realized what had just occurred. I met Stewart at an Operation Smile event in New York City a few years ago, and he was extremely generous then as well, snapping up live auction items, along with his friend Donald Trump.

Marc Buoniconti and Gloria Estefan

After dinner, the dessert stations were at Saks Fifth Avenue Bal Harbour. Talk about a Willy Wonka dream come true! On top of glass cases displaying gorgeous jewels were mounds and mounds of a sweet tooth’s delight – cupcakes dripping with icing, two-foot-long swirled rainbow lollipops, Nerds, Fruit Loops and Rice Krispies dangling over the shelves just begging to be tasted. Brown bags were provided guests who quickly filled up with all of the goodies to take home.

Jayne Abess, Ken Downing, Priya Panjabi, Stephen Brunelle, Yolanda Berkowitz

A few days later, I popped by a fashion show hosted by Jayne Abess, Yolanda Berkowitz and Priya Panjabi that was emceed by Ken Downing, fashion director at Neiman Marcus Merrick Park. It was all about accessories (which I love) – chunky, multi-layered necklaces in coral and turquoise and lots of Lucite bangles, including those by Alexis Bittar. Themes of black and white, soft palettes and gorgeous heels in fabulous colors were all the rage.

Featured on the runway were stunning dresses by Chris Benz (who happens to be related to event co-hostess extraordinaire Jayne Abess), Chanel, Fendi, Oscar de la Renta, Versace and more. I sat in the first row between Jayne, who was sharply dressed all in sunny yellow and sporting a matching Chanel bag, and Valerie Scanavino, who hosted a bridal shower for me a fews years ago at Van Cleef & Arpels in Bal Harbour.

Russell Simmons with Jeffrey Soffer at the Art for Life gala

The night after the Neiman Marcus fashion show, my husband Chip and I co-chaired Russell Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation gala, Art for Life, at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, where Johnny Furr of Anheuser-Busch, Jeffrey Soffer and the Rubell Family Collection were honored. Guests included Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon London, Kim Kardashian with Reggie Bush, Vivica A. Fox, George Hamilton, Ingrid Casares, The Rubell Family, Jill Viner, Diane N. Weiss, Leonard and Jayne Abess, Ellen Haddigan, Jason Binn, Casey and Timolin Cole (daughters of the late and great Nat King Cole) and many more.

I ended up securing some major auction items, including an autographed practice jersey of NBA Washington Wizards center Etan Thomas, a stunning necklace by celebrity jeweler Jackie Abraham (which sold for $9000), and gift certificates from the store Astoria owned by socialite Jillian Jacobson-Altit. Other fabulous auction items are still available for bids to benefit Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. Check out – there are “meet and greets” with celebs Kanye West, Robin Thicke, and Serena and Venus Williams, a pair of earrings by Caroline Streep and lots, lots more.

Until next time, I bid you adieu.


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