Fun, fashion and philanthropy: The Chicago Lighthouse presents FLAIR

Fun, fashion and philanthropy: The Chicago Lighthouse presents FLAIR
FLAIR's Mira Couture fashion segment.

My Candid Candace Blog will now be shared here on Chicago Now as well as online. Since 2008, this award-winning blog has shined a light on Chicago and all the people who make it great. Hope you can subscribe here to enjoy news from around town that includes arts and culture, the dining scene, nonprofits, human interest, film, parties, fundraisers, things to do/see and so much more! An excerpt from the blog is below from a recent virtual fundraiser for The Chicago Lighthouse…..

The Chicago Lighthouse’s greatly anticipated FLAIR fashion show was a virtual delight on October 16. It literally took a village, albeit a very socially distanced one, to bring this important mission and vision to life.

Designers and retailers showcased their looks in pre-taped segments that went off without a hitch. This, all thanks to the talent and skills of my event co-host and show producer, Tracey DiBuono and her ZZAZZ Productions team, along with Kevin Sullivan and Francisco Perez.

Kudos to event co-chairs Sheree Valukas and Sherrill Bodine who have expertly headed up this fundraiser for the past 4 years. The event’s fashion segments were filmed at Tufano’s Vernon Park Tap (1073 W. Vernon Park) with an edgy, cool urban backdrop (and filmed all in ONE day)! Male models strutted down the middle of Vernon Park Place as a drone caught their moves from above.

Models Sheree Valukas, Elyse Leavy, The Lighthouse’s Lindsay Inglis and Elizabeth Mairs even climbed onto the roof (wearing designs by RedE) for dramatic shots from that angle. The creativity was truly off the charts. The scenes were all captured on video by the uber-talented Troy Mairs along with his model/wife Elizabeth McNally Mairs.

Participating stores and designers included Al Menotti Couture, Lauren Lein Shop, RedE Boutique, Mira Couture, MyStylist Macy’s, Contessa Bottega, Etcetera, The Carlisle Collection and St. John. These fashion experts all brought their A-games as the clothing provided fit each model to perfection as well as suited their personalities. I was proud to co-host this virtual event with Tracey at The Lighthouse’s pre-school on Roosevelt Road.

It was so touching to see the teachers engaging their students virtually through their computers. As I walked down the hallway to the production area, I saw teachers dancing, singing and praising their students through computer screens. The enthusiasm, love and dedication filled the hallways of this haven of hope and it was so powerful to see.

Dr. Janet Szlyk (Chicago Lighthouse president/CEO) spoke about the organization and how, over the past year, The Lighthouse “has come together to succeed during this tough time and shine like the beacon that we are.” She talked about the org’s employment services and job training programs and spotlighted staff members Kalari Girtley Jackson, Carly Englander and Jessica Smith, who are thriving in various positions within the organization.

Dr. Janet introduced Gaelynn Lea, a dynamic advocate for the disabled community who was born with a genetic condition that causes complications in the development of bones and limbs. She sang an original song (she also plays the violin) and is a past winner of the NPR Tiny Desk Contest.

Event coordinator/friend Kevin Sullivan zoomed in from Marchesa where a fabulous Watch Party was being attended by about 34 guests. Owner Kathryn Alvera created a stunning environment, with gilded fall decor and even a red carpet out front. Kevin expertly conducted a live auction raising much needed funds. Another Watch Party was hosted in River Forest by Lisa Birmingham.

Participating models included Heather Jane Johnston, Sherry Abrahams, Kathy Cook and Hannah Bae (who all wore Carlisle and Etcetera designs); Mark Olley, Shaun Rajah (of The Drake), Johnathan Grabill, Scott Bobek and Daniel Martin (from Marchesa) (who all wore Macy’s Men); Bobbi Panter, Sheree Valukas, Yvonne Fitzgibbon and Liz Teasley (who were all decked out in St. John); Kristine Kinder, Sherrill Bodine, Whitney Reynolds and Rhonda Liesenfelt (who wore Contessa Bottega); Felicia Winiecki, Kristine Kinder and Sherry Lea Holson (wearing Menotti Couture); Sally Jo Morris (who wore her own wedding dress designed by Lauren Lein), Sherrill Bodine and Mary Lasky (all wearing Lauren Lein bridalwear); Sandy Murillo (of The Lighthouse), Elizabeth Mars, Frances Renk, Sherry Lea Holson and yours truly (wore looks created by MyStylist Macy’s); Lauren Annese and Clair Burke (of The Lighthouse), Mia Kapica and Nikki Friar (of Marchesa) (all wore looks by Mira Couture).

Since 1906, The Chicago Lighthouse has been a leader in serving the blind, visually impaired, disabled and Veteran communities. This remarkable nonprofit serves more than 67,000 people annually and has pivoted expertly to virtual programming so their children can still be educated and engaged every day in their homes. Funds raised from this event will support these programs and services providing education, and rehabilitation as well as employment services. (To donate, and for more info, click here!)

To read the rest of this week’s edition, please click here!


Filed under: arts/entertainment

Tags: 1stGen Scholarship Gala, A Silver Lining Foundation, A Sterling Event, Adam Vitale, Al Menotti, Ana Belaval, Bennetta Kelly, Big Orange Ball, Bobbi Panter, Carly Englander, Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago State Foundation, Chicago Tribune, chilli pepper, Claire Burke, Contessa Bottega, Daniel Martin, Dr. Janet Szlyk, Dr. Sandy Goldberg, Elda de la Rosa, Elizabeth McNally, Elizabeth McNally Mairs, Eric Siegelbaum, Etcetera, Felicia Winiecki, FLAIR, Frances Renk, Francisco Perez, Gaelynn Lea, Glen Ellyn Living, Greg Hines, Hannah Bae, Heather Jane Johnston, Heroes Gala, Hinsdale Living, Hoda and Jenna, Howard Brown Health Center, Jackie Kissane, Jesse Stein, jessica Smith, Jim Flint, Jim Miller, Joe Montegna, John Robak, Johnathan Grabill, Kalari Girtley Jackson, Kathryn Alvera, Kathy Cook, Kelly Cervantes, Ken Norgan, Kevin Sullivan, Kristine Kinder, Kylie Krizek, Lauren Annese, Lauren Lein, Leanne Williams, LeeAnn Trotter, Leslie Zemeckis, Lightscape, Liz Teasley, Lois Gates, Lou Manfredini, Marchesa, Mark Olley, Mark Roscoe, Mary Ann Ahern, Mary Lasky, Mary Pat O'Brien, Matt Olaveson, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Mia Kapica, Micah Materre, Michael Perich, Miguel Cervantes, Mike Singletary, Mira Couture, Misericordia, Model Atelier, MyStylist Macy's, Next Begins Now, Nikki Friar, Opal Staples, Pat Fitzgerald, Paul Lisnek, PAWS Chicago, PAWS Fur Ball, Peach Carr, Playboy, Pleasure for All, Pleasure for All CBD Playboy, Rebellion, RedE Boutique, Rev Up, Rhonda Liesenfelt, Ricorso, Robert Feder, Robert Zemeckis, Sally Jo Morris, Sally Jo Pfaff, Sandy Murillo, Scott Bobek, Shaun Rajah, Sheree Valukas, Sherrill Bodine, Sherry Abrahams, Sherry Lea Holson, Sister Rosemary Connelly, Soundoff, St. John, Susan Baker, Sylvia Perez, The Baton Show Lounge, The Carlisle Collection, The Chicago Lighthouse, The Gnome Colony, The Heartbreakers, The Joffrey Ballet, The Today Show, The Witches, Tracey DiBuono, Tracey Tarantino, Tracy Butler, Troy Mairs, Tufano's, Union League Boys and Girls Clubs, Whitney Reynolds, Yvonne Fitzgibbon, ZZazz Productions

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