By Maureen O’Boyle, Anchor
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) –
The inaugural ‘Fashion Breathes Life’ event was a huge fundraising success for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Charlotte Chapter. Saturday’s event included live music, beautiful clothing and emotional testimonials by those touched by cystic fibrosis, a disorder that typically affects the lungs, but also the pancreas, kidneys, liver and intestine.
“Here at the CF Foundation we are beyond thrilled with the phenomenal success of our first ‘Fashion Breathes Life’ event. It is very rare to have such an amazing response to an event in its first year and we look forward to building on the excitement for 2016,” said Deirdre Sidbury, Associate Executive Director at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation – Charlotte Chapter.
The concept of ‘Fashion Breathes Life’ was to do just that, breathe life into efforts to find a cure for a disease that hits very close to home for Ben and Jill Pleune, whose son Oliver has CF. Jill and her sister Courtney Sloan, are owners of Sloan Boutique in Charlotte, and they know fashion. So using their expertise and that of their committee members, they created a new fundraising venue for CF Foundation.
‘Fashion Breathes Life’ included two fashion shows. The first highlighted the on-trend clothing of Sloan Boutique, currently on East Boulevard, but moving to The Village at SouthPark November 23. We saw everything from ‘boho chic’ to very sleek designs by Halston Heritage. Following fashions from Sloan, were twenty beautiful couture pieces by Luis Machicao, the award winning Peruvian designer now based in Charlotte.
Linda Martinez, stylist and founder of Styled Now, and co-owner of the new store CLTCH in the Plaza-Midwood neighborhood, produced the fashion shows. Martinez styled all the models, from their clothing to accessories. The band, Miami Dice, performed live for the crowd. A special touch to the evening, performances by Andrea Huber, a member of the Sloan family, and world-renowned Soprano.
The setting gave party goers a very big city feel, with the runway in the middle of the ‘Urban Gardens’ of the Ritz in Uptown Charlotte. Auctioneers, Debbie and Ron Hitzel, from Impact Auctions, kept the live auction moving and got the crowd to bid often and bid high.
One of the hottest items on the live auction was a painting by Oliver Pleune. He’s a huge Cam Newton fan, and painted a small #1 car. That painting went for several thousand dollars. In fact, they auctioned off a second painting by Oliver that brought in thousands as well. Oliver, who isn’t too excited to be in the spotlight, got moral support on stage from his big brother Henry, who seemed a natural in front of the crowd.
I was honored to be a part of this exciting new event. I can assure you next year the tickets will be hard to come by, and this will be one of the premier fundraising events of 2016. Most of all, I’m thrilled those who attended gave so generously. At this point, Cystic Fibrosis Charlotte Chapter says the event raised close to $100,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The Foundation also provides support for patients and their families as they manage the difficult consequences of the disease. They offer specialized quality CF care and provide information to help people with CF access that care.
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