By Laura Kasavan Posted March 10, 2008, 6:20 PM EDT
Menswear designer John Varvatos’s sixth annual Stuart House benefit, which helps sexually abused children, again proved a magnet for parents and kids. In fact, the children’s tent—staged in the Varvatos parking lot—was the most popular hangout spot among the crowd.
Tots created Build-A-Bear toys and customized pairs of Converse and noshed on age-appropriate dishes like chicken fingers, mini grilled-cheese sandwiches, and Jell-O cups from Salt Catering. Later, they settled into beanbag chairs for storytelling from celebrities including Angie Harmon and Justin Chambers.
Event producer Travis Jackson for 15/40 Productions worked with Varvatos marketing and corporate communications vice president Donna Faircloth to create a more sophisticated atmosphere for adults in the main tent. The space got an all-white look with chandeliers and modern seating arrangements, and guests had ample room to browse the silent-auction area. Passed appetizers included mini chicken quesadillas and crab cakes, and buffets offered up pizzettas, Chinese dim sum, and skewers. In-N-Out was also on hand with its popular signatures.
Later in the afternoon, guests convened by the stage for a live auction led by auctioneer Viveca Paulin-Ferrell, Will Ferrell's wife, and then listened to a 45-minute set from Cheap Trick. Surprise guests Alice Cooper and Wayne Kramer of MC5 joined the band to close out the performance—perhaps an unexpected complement to the rest of the day's offerings, but nevertheless well-received. The benefit raised more than $450,000 for Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center’s rape treatment center for children.