The Washington Humane Society once again sold out its Fashion for Paws runway show and fund-raiser on Saturday night, with nearly 1,700 people in attendance. Previously held at the Italian and French embassies, the fifth annual event moved to the National Building Museum due to increased ticket demands.
“Last year were expecting 900, and we topped off with 1,400, and we had no more room,” said the event's executive director Tara de Nicolas. “The Building Museum is an amazing space, and it was Syzygy [Event Productions] that came to us and said they would help us take it to the next level if we held the event there this year.”
Syzygy Event Productions used pink and white sheer draping to section off the grand atrium into three spaces for the V.I.P. reception, fashion show arena, and general admission area. The runway’s backdrop featured a hand-painted city skyline, with logos for sponsors like Tysons Galleria (whose retailers donated clothing featured in the fashion show) and Vitaminwater incorporated into the design. Edge Floral Event Designs also contributed to the decor with floral arrangements in the shapes of dog bones and fire hydrants.
The night began with a private reception for V.V.I.P.s who purchased the 65 $3,000 and $10,000 dinner tables on one side of the runway, as well as those with $200 V.I.P. tickets, who had traditional fashion show seating on the opposite side of the runway. Teatro and Cities restaurants set up multiple food stations serving all-vegetarian fare in the V.I.P. area, while Design Cuisine Caterers served a three-course vegetarian meal to those sponsors who purchased tables. Lebanese Taverna also served light vegetarian bites in the general admission area. The thought behind the no-meat menu? “We felt that it was a bit of a contradiction to be serving animal while also trying to save homeless animals,” said Nicolas. “Vegetarian menus are not easy, but Design Cuisine and our other caterers did it beautifully.”
Vitaminwater returned as a sponsor for the third year, this time partnering with the Fashion Institute of Design and Marketing to create over-the-top dresses inspired by the brand’s various water flavors. Institute graduate Clay Sadler created five avant-garde gowns, which models showcased on a stage in the general admission reception area, as well as the runway to kick off the main fashion show.
Entertainment Tonight’s Lawrence Zarian and PamelasPunch.com’s Pamela Sorensen served as M.C.s for the program, which began with remarks from Nichols and recognition as the male and female Model Washingtonian of the Year for raising $12,000 and $20,000, respectively—more than any other fund-raiser. Afterward, 80 models, who raised $3,000 each to participate, hit the runway with their dressed-up dogs for the 20-minute fashion presentation, featuring looks from 11 retailers like Vineyard Vines, Betsey Johnson, and Nicole Miller.
The benefit surpassed its goal for this year, raising $520,000 for the humane society and its outreach programs.