[nggallery id=vidni] Custom handbag store Laudi Vidni teamed up with vintage shop Lulu’s at the Belle Kay to host a posh holiday shopping night Nov. 12 that had shoppers swooning over the selection of one-of-a-kind items. Dozens of guests at the handbag store (1007 N. Armitage), including romance novelist Sherrill Bodine, perused hand-painted clutches by Chicago artist Cathy Bruni Norris and tried on sparkling oversized costume jewelry pieces sold at the popular vintage boutique. Let the holiday shopping season officially begin!
[nggallery id=causecity2] Little City showed its continued support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities at its 53rd annual dinner gala, held at the Fairmont Chicago (200 N. Columbus) Nov. 16. This year’s event, themed Little City, Big Solutions, saw 350 philanthropists, community leaders and supporters gather to advocate employment opportunities for the hundreds of adults who are a part of the Little City community. Co-chairs Matthew and Tina Schubert headed the evening’s efforts, which honored Motorola Solutions Foundation’s Eduardo Conrado, and helped raise $250,000 for the programs and services Little City offers its members.
Nov. 22: A treasured family tradition for 79 years, the annual McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade marks the official arrival of the holiday season. Running along State Street between Congress and Randolph, the parade will feature marching bands, floats, staged performances and giant balloons, as well as appearances from Grand Marshal and WWE champion CM Punk, model (and Daily Splash contributor) Jaslene Gonzalez, Miss Illinois Ashley Hooks, the Harlem Globetrotters and of course, Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
[nggallery id=causepaw] The head count for this year’s PAWS Chicago Fur Ball at the Drake Hotel Nov. 9 hit an all-time high: 150 canines turned out with 725 guests, including rocker Billy Corgan and “Kitchen Crashers” star Alison Victoria. And though the humans wore their black-tie best, it was the doggies’ style that got all the attention — from collies wearing tutus to Cavalier King Charles spaniels in doggie tuxes. Corgan, who adopted his cats Sammi and Tom from PAWS in 2004, was a first-time attendee and agreed to auction a tea party and live performance for four at Madame Zuzu’s, his new Highland Park teahouse. “We’ll talk, and you can ask me anything you want,” he said. “I’ve got lots of good stories; I’m probably the only person on the planet who’s dated Jessica Simpson and Courtney Love.” The bidding went up to $30,000 and Corgan agreed to host the tea party three times (for winners Nancy Timmers, Mayari Pritzker and Kristy Kitzmiller), contributing $90,000 toward the evening’s more than $1 million total to benefit the beloved no-kill animal shelter.
[nggallery id=causemcgrath] You could call it the “everyman sedan,” but to car enthusiasts and professionals at McGrath Lexus, it’s known as the ES 350 — and it’s cause for celebration. The dealership, owned by friends-of-Splash Mike and Kristina McGrath, welcomed friends and fans to eat, drink and admire the new entry-level model, which is already zipping off the floor. Partygoers got a sneak peak at the car, which will be shown at upcoming Lexus auto shows, during a presentation touting its state-of-the-art features such as interfacing with a driver’s phone and the ability to search out the best nearby gas prices.
[nggallery id=causechicago2] Designer Kenneth Cole left his stylish mark on the city at the Chicago House’s fourth annual Speaker Series Luncheon at the Hilton Chicago (720 S. Michigan) Nov. 11. As the keynote speaker, Cole chatted with WLS-Channel 7’s Cheryl Burton in front of 600 guests about his fashion journey and his advocacy in the global fight against AIDS since 1985 — the same year Chicago House was founded. Also in attendance were co-chairs Todd Hamilton and Splash editor Susanna Negovan, and other notables such as WLS-Channel 7’s Sylvia Perez and Linda Yu, Project Runway contestant Steven Rosengard, BMO Harris’ Justine Fedak and Glossed & Found’s D. Graham Kostic. The event raised more than $300,000 for the organization, which provides services and outreach to individuals and families struggling with HIV and AIDS. The designer, famous for his witty taglines, quipped, “Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then you’ll be a mile away and you’ll be wearing their shoes.”
[nggallery id=causems] The National Multiple Sclerosis Society took a moment to pay tribute to supporters with its annual Dinner of Champions on Oct. 25. WLS-Channel 7’s Kathy Brock emceed the evening, which honored Northern Trust Chairman and CEO Rick Waddell for his longtime support of the organization. The evening was a heavyweight fund-raiser, with more than 375 “champs” helping score $1 million for the society’s search for a cure. Proceeds will also benefit programs that assist people living with MS while providing financial aid to patients.
Despite the name, Little City does huge work, offering housing, medical support and job counseling to Chicagoans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. At its annual dinner gala, Little City, Big Solutions, the organization will honor the Motorola Solutions Foundation with the prestigious Sidney L. Port Legacy of Distinction Award for its charitable contributions to community programs and for hiring those with disabilities in the workplace.
[nggallery id=causechoir2] As guests entered the Chicago Children’s Choir Red Jacket Optional gala on Oct. 26, they were greeted by the Voice of Chicago ensemble singing a spirited Michael Jackson medley, which included “Man in the Mirror,” “Black or White” and “Heal the World.” It was a fitting opener for the group’s top singers, who have toured the globe spreading the message of unity through music. Later in the night, the gala’s 550 attendees — including Gov. Pat Quinn — enjoyed a second performance featuring selections from “Sita Ram,” a musical that will premiere on Dec. 14 at the Harris Theater. The fundraiser gave Concert Choir members a chance to debut their new uniforms designed by Chicagoan Azeeza Khan: chic black chiffon dresses and red silk jackets for the girls, black suits with red trim for the boys. The event, held in the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel’s ballroom, raised $600,000 to benefit music education programs serving 3,000 Chicago children annually.
[nggallery id=causeserviceclub] To fund the future of their organization, members of the Service Club of Chicago looked to its past at this year’s gala, With Gratitude. Paying homage to the group’s proud history, past co-chairmen were escorted to the stage by a tuxedo- and top-hat-clad dancer. Partygoers, dressed to impress in ultra-formal fashion, drank, dined and danced the night away at the Four Seasons Chicago to music from the Stanley Paul Orchestra. Co-chairmen Elizabeth Brodsky and Kimberly Gleeson arranged a live auction featuring an adorable kitten and puppy from PAWS Chicago rescue shelter. The elegant evening netted more than $400,000 for the Service Club’s docket of philanthropic causes.