Red is the new neutral this fall, complemented by pointy-toed shoes, motorcycle jackets and anything leopard, as seen on the runway at CITY: Fashion+Art+Culture, the fifth fashion benefit staged by Neiman Marcus for the Tampa Museum of Art. Sponsors earned front row celebrity status on the terrace overlooking Curtis Hixon Park at the sold-out show Sept. 20. Eddie V's Prime, Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar and Chocolate Pi ensured the crowd was well-fed, not just well-dressed.
Chairwoman Renee Mihale, who somehow simultaneously planned CITY for 400 guests AND her Aug. 31 wedding to Brett Farmer, wore a Melinda Alderman original. It was one of seven Couture for a Cause gowns designed by students at the University of South Florida's school of theater and dance. Each wearable art creation was inspired by a museum work and auctioned that night.
Brinner of Hope
Helping themselves to eggs Benedict, bacon, grits, cereals and doughnuts for dinner awoke Brinner of Hope guests to a new perspective. Breakfast for dinner (a.k.a. brinner) jolts the daily format just as the Pediatric Cancer Foundation invigorates research for kids.
Despite statistics that a child is diagnosed with cancer every hour, just 3.8 percent of federal funds go to pediatric cancer research, medical investigators told supporters at the Sept. 18 benefit at A La Carte Event Pavilion. Only two pediatric oncology drugs have won approval in the last 20 years.
The Trickey Jennus agency launched an ad campaign during Brinner, on T-shirts worn by patients, doctors and family members. Among them, the Fisher family sported slogans such as "I CAN CERtainly beat it" and "You CAN CERtainly help end it."
"There is no parenting handbook when a 2-year-old has cancer," said Pat Fisher, speaking of coming to dread two words: cautiously optimistic. His emotional appeal helped the event net $87,000.
Tampa Theatre's Rebel Without a Cork
As James Dean and Natalie Wood rebelled on-screen in the 1955 classic Rebel Without a Cause, cinema buffs reveled for a cause — Tampa Theatre — at Rebel Without a Cork, the 12th movie-themed benefit for the historic movie palace. The three-day tasting opened Sept. 20 with a Mise en Place-catered dinner for 175 on a wooden stage built over the seats in the historic auditorium. Chef Marty Blitz was box office boffo.
At Saturday's party sampling eight restaurant and 50 varietals, audiences raved about Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe's smoked duck and Gorgonzola crostini, and Sweet Tweets Cakery cupcakes. Oscar nods went to Bern's Steak House for bringing four hors d'oeuvres and four desserts. Best supporting chocolates: Viktoria Richards' handmade, handpainted flavors, including beer and chips and pineapple chipotle. Rebels in the basement, all members of the U.S. Bartenders Guild, mixed wine-based cocktails, pear sangria and spiked root beer floats.
A Sunday brunch attended by 150 starred Catrinas Cocina y Galeria's divorced eggs; quiche from Michael's Grill; Pane Rustica's frittatas; Cafe Hey Traitor Benedict vegan scramble; and Mad Dogs and Englishmen's kedgeree.