By Susan O'Neill Posted February 28, 2008, 3:48 PM EST
When the Baycrest Women's Auxiliary began planning this year's fund-raiser, the group wanted to shake things up by creating a hip, new event to benefit the health-care centre. So in an effort to break away from the gala dinners the organization has held in the past, the auxiliary chose to host a lively event at a nightclub featuring a fashion show, a jazz singer, and a DJ. “Fund-raising events are forgoing the kind of things they used to be doing,” committee co-chair Janice O'Bright said. “The Women's Auxiliary wanted to get back on the map with an event like this.”
For last night's event, O'Bright and the committee worked with Designing Trendz to create Lounge W.A., a South Beach-inspired jazz club at Six Degrees near Yonge and Eglinton. “We've called it a 'jeans and jewels' evening,” O'Bright said, adding that organizers wanted the vibe to be casual but cool. “Also, we decided to do it in February, when we're not competing with other [charity galas],” she said. Designing Trendz transformed the usually dark venue by draping white fabric at the entranceway and filling the space with sleek white furniture, votive candles, and crystal candelabras filled with white tulips.
The decor started on the street, with a red carpet sectioned off with a crystal-beaded rope. Votive candles placed on every step lit the staircase to the second floor. Long white benches and frosted-glass tables provided an area for guests to lounge at the front of the room. Tall mirrored vases filled with white tulips were placed along the bar and 10 tables, surrounded by Chiavari chairs that provided additional seating in front of the stage.
Five kosher caterers set up food stations throughout the club, serving tapas-style dishes such as dim sum, beef satay, and mini fruit crumbles in terra-cotta pots. Johnnie Walker held a scotch tasting featuring the distillery’s Red, Black, Green, Gold, and Blue Label blends.
Jazz vocalist Jeanine Mackie and saxophonist Pat Perez of Blue Martini Jazz performed for the 250 guests prior to a fashion show produced by Erika Larva of Monarch Events Group. Models dressed in Kenneth Cole’s spring fashions descended a flight of stairs onto the stage and walked along a white carpet through the centre of the room. Following the fashion show, Steve Marcus hosted a live auction, which featured the opportunity to bid on a trip for two to Israel and a $15,000 blue iris and sapphire mink jacket designed by Joeffer Caoc. At the end of the evening, guests received gift bags that included Yves Saint Laurent fragrances.