By D. Channing Muller Posted May 5, 2009, 8:00 AM EDT
FLORIDA The 11th annual Fashion Art Ball drew more than 500 people to the Fontainebleau on Saturday—nearly twice as many as last year's fete at Casa Casuarina. The success is credited to the volunteer planning committee's decision to lower the event’s ticket price by $150, to just $100 a person, in an effort to attract more attendees to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation fund-raiser.
“We know it’s a difficult economic climate, so the committee decided to take the price down to a point where we could still make money for the cause, but offer a recession-proof night out,” said Shelley Greene, special event specialist for the foundation. “You can’t go out and get what we’re offering, with unlimited food, drink, and entertainment, for less than $100.”
Volunteer committee co-chairs Michelle and Tommy Pooch and Alan Roth, the latter two of which are co-publishers of 944 magazine and co-owners of nightlife promotion firm Tai Entertainment, reached out to their corporate partners, friends, and contacts at South Beach businesses to get sponsors. Approximately 60 local restaurants, hotels, boutiques, and art galleries provided items for the silent auction.
The team divided the hotel’s bilevel Fleur de Lis ballroom into a cocktail and main event space with 15 V.I.P. dinner tables, a two-prong fashion runway, and 10 highboys. The cocktail area had food stations from 10 restaurants—including Taverna Opa, Pacific Time, Segafredo, and Table 8—as well as silent auction items. Multiple spirits brands, including Roberto Cavalli Vodka, Tommy Bahama Rum, and Skyy Vodka, sponsored the bars.
Deco Drive anchor Louis Aguirre and local TV personality Buster served as M.C.s for the main program, which began nearly 20 minutes behind schedule to allow late arrivals an opportunity to sample the food stations. Plum TV host and event committee member Erin Newberg played a living mannequin for a KrelWear designer, who fashioned a custom dress on stage. At one point during the fitting, Newberg—who was wearing a bikini top and boy shorts—lost her top, inadvertently flashing the audience to much applause.
The main entertainment for the evening was three runway shows from Roberto Cavalli, OndadeMar swimwear, and Luca Luca. Local developers, nightlife promoters, and South Beach personalities also hit the runway for the annual Legends on the Runway men's fashion show. DJ Mr. Sandman from Artist Related played pop, hip-hop, and dance music mix throughout the night.
Following a wrap-up performance from R&B singer Joe, guests headed to the hotel’s LIV nightclub for the official after-party.