[nggallery id=causeversailles] In 1973 five American fashion designers battled five French designers at an epic runway show benefiting the restoration of the Palace of Versailles. Nearly 40 years later, a documentary celebrating the American designers’ dominance — and heralding the rise of African-American runway models — was shown at Columbia College Chicago’s Film Row Cinema at 1104 S. Wabash. Attendees included the executive producer of “Versailles ’73,” Deborah Riley Draper, as well as documentary stars and former runway models Mikki Taylor, Pat Cleveland, Norma Jean Darden and Charlene Dash.
[nggallery id=causechildrensmuseum] The Chicago Children’s Museum came of age on Nov. 3 when one of the city’s top cultural institutions dedicated to children celebrated its 30th birthday. Host committee members Joan Harris and members of the Crown, Goodman and Pritzker Pucker families welcomed more than 550 guests to the annual gala held inside the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom (600 E. Grand). With sponsors including Allstate and BDT Capital Partners, the party raised more than $870,000 to help support the museum’s mission of connecting the importance of learning through play for children.
[nggallery id=causeausl2] On Nov. 8 board members, teachers and supporters of the Academy for Urban School Leadership took a night off to celebrate 11 years of turning around the city’s underperforming schools. Joining them at the organization’s inaugural gala at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago were 500 guests, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Eve Rogers, Eve Tyree and Mark Furlong, who turned out to honor the AUSL as the largest turnaround organization in the country. This year it helped improve 25 low-income, chronically failing schools and will be back to work with Chicago Public Schools in 2013 for more high marks.
[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.