By Susan O'Neill Posted December 2, 2008, 4:25 PM EST
TORONTO More than 600 guests attended a rare Chanel fashion show at the Direct Energy Centre's Heritage Court Thursday to benefit HealthyKids International, a new initiative of the SickKids Foundation at the Hospital for Sick Children. Mafalda Caruso, CTV's executive director of special events, worked with the luxury retailer to replicate the presentation of Karl Lagerfeld's 2008-09 Chanel resort collection, which was held poolside at Miami's Raleigh Hotel in May.
In South Beach, models walked a curved black runway that ran along the inside edge of the hotel pool. “I replicated the runway exactly the same as Miami,” said Caruso, who agreed to produce the event when CTV signed on as a sponsor. “It was difficult, but I feel I brought a piece of South Beach back to Toronto in the middle of winter.” Caruso planned the evening in conjunction with Ruth Grant, chair of HealthyKids, and Jeffry Roick of McNabb Roick Events.
The black and white beach balls bearing Chanel's double-C logo, which dressed the space at the entrance to the event, were the only elements flown in for the show. The rest of the decor, including the lifeguard towers in the all-white reception area and the Chanel step-and-repeat at the entrance, were recreated—as was the 60-foot runway, which was surrounded by a pool of water. “It took two months from conception to finish,” Caruso said of the runway construction.
Westbury National Show Systems used blue lighting to create a water effect on the walls in the dining area and waterfalls with sponsor logos added to the South Beach feel in the cocktail room. Although Lagerfeld enlisted the United States Olympic synchronized-swimming team to perform for the show's finale in Miami, guests in Toronto watched a performance by the Canadian Tenors. The evening, hosted by Fashion Television's Jeanne Beker, also featured a live auction.
The 600 guests dined on an appetizer of shaved butternut squash and wild arugula salad with Pecorino cheese and a champagne vinaigrette. Cerise Fine Catering served an entrée of filet of beef au poivre with baby carrots, pomme purée with a sauce Bordelaise followed by a chocolate-raspberry tower, flourless chocolate and hazelnut torte, and a Frangelico chocolate truffle purse for dessert.
Grant credited HealthyKids board member Irit Shay, co-owner of Toronto's Royal De Versailles jewelry store, with bringing Chanel on board for the fund-raiser. “It was really quite a coup,” she said, adding that the Chanel show was the first in Canada in 10 years. “It's sort of a coming out party. This is a new initiative of the SickKids Foundation in an effort to address the issue of children dying in the third world because of inadequate care,” Grant said. “We're in the early stages, and this was a tremendous boost to us.”