Fund-Raiser Fills Bal Harbour Shops With Four Decades of Food, Decor, and Entertainment

The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis shut down the Bal Harbour Shops for its biannual fashion-focused fund-raiser, filling the shopping center with food, decor, and entertainment tied to the past four decades.

By D. Channing Muller March 10, 2009, 11:36 AM EDT

A Charlie's Angels bar in the 1970s space

Photo: BizBash

The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis's Destination Fashion Benefit
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Continuing a biannual tradition, the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis and event producer Barton G. again took over the Bal Harbour Shops in Miami for the foundation's Destination Fashion fund-raiser on Saturday, this time taking guests on a journey—in decorations, at least—through the decades from the 1970s to today.

“When we started the fund-raiser in 2004, no one had taken over the Bal Harbour Shops before to close it down for a big party,” said Stephanie Sayfie Aargaard, director of major gifts, corporate relations, marketing, and events for the Buoniconti Fund. “We wanted to do something that was out of the ordinary besides just a gala that integrated sports with fashion and entertainment.”

Headlined by a Michael Kors fashion show and performances from Seal and the Pointer Sisters, the event drew more than 1,500 celebrities, athletes, and donors to the high-end shopping plaza. Days before the event, Barton's team began constructing a performance stage and 324-foot square runway in the parking lot to host the fashion event and performances.

Following a video presentation about the Buoniconti Fund's origins and research efforts to find a cure for paralysis, Kors showcased his fall 2009 collection before the 45 Women of Substance and Style honoreesa signature aspect of the eventhit the catwalk alongside celebrities like event co-chair Tommy Lee Jones and Jerry Rice.

While V.I.P.s retreated to a private sit-down dinner among the clothing and footwear collections inside Neiman Marcus, the doors to the main shopping plaza were opened for an additional 500 guests. As they walked through the mall's main courtyard, they progressed through scenarios meant to recall the various decades, with era-appropriate food stations, branded bars, and entertainment: a Charlie's Angels bar and disco dancers in the '70s, an Out of Africa food station and break-dancers in the '80s, a Pretty Woman vignette in the '90s, and a Devil Wears Prada bar and performances from the Miami Heat dancers for the present. Silent auction tables were also set up throughout the courtyard.

Before heading back out to the parking lot for the headlining performances, V.I.P.s joined partygoers inside Saks Fifth Avenueone of the top sponsorsfor dessert a la Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Countertops in the cosmetics department were cleared of their wares to display the evening's desserts. Rice Krispies treats drizzled in chocolate, mini cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, coffee cake, fudge brownies, and key lime tarts were among the choices, as well as an extensive array of candies, lollipops, and the movie's signature Wonka Bars.

The night wrapped up around 12:30 a.m., following hourlong performances from the Pointer Sisters and Seal. The fund-raiser brought in nearly $3.8 million.

Note: This story has been changed to reflect the correct spelling of the Buoniconti Fund.

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