Before Michael Vollbracht was a famous fashion designer, he was a successful illustrator and fine artist. In the design business, he has reinvented himself many times, working for the late Geoffrey Beene, establishing his own label, then heading up the Bill Blass firm after its namesake died. He's once again making fashion under his name for Saks Fifth Avenue and for HSN, still traveling a lot and spending chunks of time in New York.
But whenever he can, he heads to the place he calls home: a small, rather ordinary house in Safety Harbor he has remodeled, mostly by himself, into a very cool abode.
And he still creates art, both paintings and collages that have always had a following among his local friends and his famous clients.
An important sidebar in Vollbracht's life is his generosity to good causes. Over the years, he has contributed his name and talent to many area organizations. He has a big soft spot for those assisting victims of abuse, since he himself grew up in such a home.
The most recent example is "An Evening of Art, Fashion and Compassion" on behalf of the Haven of RCS, founded in 1980, which provides safe housing and outreach programs to domestic violence survivors in Pinellas County.
It's a noble cause, but the event itself should be lots of fun. It's Saturday at Syd Entel Galleries, 247 Main St., Safety Harbor, where an exhibition of his art, illustrations and fashion are on view through Nov. 3. The fundraiser also is the opening reception for the show, and Vollbracht (who is delightful company, by the way) will be on hand for the party, from 7 to 9 p.m. He has donated a collage, Mother and Child, for the silent auction.
Tickets to the party, which includes hors d'oeuvres and wine, are $25 per person, $40 for couples. All proceeds go to the Haven.
For ticket information, call the gallery at (727) 725-1808 or e-mail linda@sydentel galleries.com.