CHICAGO Giant swaths of zebra print, lit-up palm trees, and a red-carpet entrance underscored the “El Morrocco” theme at the Service Club of Chicago's gala at the Four Seasons Chicago on Friday night. Inspired by the New York supper club, which had its heyday in the 1940s, the event drew 430 guests and raised $250,000 for a variety of local charities.
Co-chairs Dusty Stemer, Toni Canada, and Laurie Davis developed the theme, and then met with designer Tom Kehoe and producer Chelea Polk of Kehoe Designs to help flesh out the vision. “We do get bids from various vendors each year,” said Tina Weller, who handles public relations for the event. But the planners decided to stick with tradition when choosing the designer. “Tom Kehoe has done our event for quite some time and does an amazing job,” she said.
Dressed as '40s-style cigarette girls, models from Zzazz Productions wandered the cocktail reception and encouraged guests to purchase $100 cigars that served as raffle tickets. Leopard-print rugs and candles dotted lounge areas outside the ballroom. Inside, the space was decked with towering arrangements of white lilies and palm leaves and custom furniture wrapped in the signature zebra print.
The Ken Arlen Orchestra, with special guest singer Shelley MacArthur, performed on a stage in front of the space, working era-appropriate hits such as “Ain't That a Kick in the Head” into their set. A glossy white dance floor, also adorned with the animal print, stretched out in front of the stage.
Hotel chefs prepared the three-course dinner, which included potato-pumpkin soup, roast tenderloin of beef with wild mushroom sauce, and a trio of seasonal desserts: lemon tart, chocolate pudding cake, and apple crisp.