New Lupus Foundation Fund-Raiser Offers Three Ticket Levels, Uses Patients in Fashion Show

By Mitra Sorrells May 25, 2011, 12:07 PM EDT


A Flare for Design
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The southeast Florida chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America hosted its first fund-raiser in the Miami area Thursday night, and more than 275 people turned out for the event at the Design Center of the Americas showroom in Dania Beach. Miami stylist Jenny Wilensky Zalkin conceived “A Flare for Design,” a combination cocktail party/fashion show/interior design exhibition, after she lost her mother to lupus last summer. The event offered three ticket prices—$75, $125, and $500—to make it accessible to a broad range of attendees.

“A lot here of events here in Miami are $250 a person and above. We wanted to create an event where people actually living with the disease and affected by the disease can really enjoy the event,” Zalkin said. The foundation is still tallying proceeds but estimates the event raised nearly $10,000.

At the $500 level, guests had access to two lounges, furnished by design center companies Inside Out and Carriage House, with floral arrangements from Mystique Flowers. Each lounge offered exclusive food, one from Blade sushi restaurant and the other from Lyon & Lyon Catering, and Champagne provided by Veuve Clicquot. Guests who purchased tickets at the other two levels enjoyed hors d’oeuvres from Bistro D, the design center’s catering service, and cocktails from sponsor V Georgio Vodka.  

The event opened with a silent auction of more than 60 items, including clothing, accessories, and interior design pieces. The highlight of the evening was a fashion show hosted by Jilian Sanz, national fashion director of Haute Living magazine, which used local lupus patients as models.  

“They are between 15 and 63 years of age. Some are really sick and some are not. I just wanted to give them a fun night out and also [asked them to be models] so that every person at the event could see what these people look like—that they look like you and I and you’d never know they are sick,” Zalkin said. Designers such as Elie Tahari, Max Mara, Trina Turk, and Valentino donated all of the clothing, later sold in the silent auction.

The event ended with a performance by Rees Bridges from Grammy-winning band Dirty Vegas. Additional sponsors included Gilt City Miami, Ocean Drive magazine, Prestige Imports, and Van Michael Salon.

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