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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Philanthropy never looked so good

A stifled smile and beckoning crook of the finger is how Whitney Ivey 08C paced the models from off the runway during the first Atlanta Young Alumni and Caucus of Emory Black Alumni (CEBA) fashion benefit for children’s leukemia research, Thursday, March 26. I could see Whitney framed through the lens of my Canon Rebel XT (I was the self-appointed photog for the night), trying her best not to laugh at the intentionally over-exaggerated poses by some of the male alumni models as she sent them one-by-one, alumna by alumnus, down the red carpet in between Bill Hallman’s two ateliers in Virginia-Highland.

Montshona Edwards 07C, event-coordinator extraordinaire, confidently watched her fellow alumni strut their stuff from the end of the runway as the rest of the alumni models hid inside the back room, checking makeup, hurriedly fixing scarves, trying to hide pesky price tags, and anxiously awaited Whitney’s subtle signal.

It all started as a proposal for an event partnership between CEBA, an interest group of the EAA, and the Atlanta Young Alumni. Montshona then added the fashion twist, and Darrah Brustein 06C offered the “in” we needed—Bill Hallman’s contact information. And so, the seeds of the CEBA-Young Alumni fashion show were planted, but everyone knows that Emory alumni are never fully satisfied—why stop there?

That’s when the idea of making it a benefit came into play—we could make the fashion show into something more, something that would hopefully last longer than spring’s fleeting fashions (fabulous as they were). If we made the show benefit the Emory’s Children Leukemia Research Fund, not only could we fund-raise from alumni for a great cause, but we could double our outcome as all donations would also count toward Campaign Emory, the University’s $1.6B dollar campaign.

All our planning, excitement, lengthy email threads, and runway run-throughs resulted in a fantastic fashion show; with wine and hors d’oeuvres in hand, CEBA members, young alumni, and even some Emory staff gathered at Bill Hallman to usher in the season’s fashions—at a 15 percent discounted rate, courtesy of Mr. Hallman himself. Stationed at a faux driftwood table, DJ Mike Bradley, a friend of Jamie Chan 06C, donated his skills and spun amazing beats and mixes to keep the crowds hyped while Blue Taylor, a professional MAC makeup artist from the Purple Door Salon graciously anointed the models with signature fashion stripes—blue for the boys, white for the ladies.

After the models had made their two runs down the runway (wearing signature outfits they had picked out themselves a couple of days earlier…with some subtle post-production help from the Highlands’ fashion guardian angel, Bill) alumni mingled and entered a raffle for a free month of boot camp, courtesy of BTB Fitness, while backstage we wrapped up the night with some mini-photo shoots before closing up shop.

Click here to see pictures from the event, and if you’d like to join me and other alumni in making a gift to the Emory Children’s Leukemia Research Fund, visit www.emory.edu/give and then type in Children’s Leukemia Research Fund in the “other designation” box.

Who knew that being philanthropic could be so fashionable?

--Cassie Young 07C, program development coordinator, Emory Annual Fund

1 comment:

  1. I guess I have to get with it. I haven't really been on the EAA scene...i know tragedy...but had I actually had my ear to the ground and known about this I probably would have not been MIA. Fashion, Art, Philanthropy...that's right up my alley.

    See www.mytruevision.com/new.html

    Good job.