This year, co-founders (and sisters) Amy Burns and Allyson Ruschitella were inspired by an apple green Chanel gown to create the Old English garden theme that we loved as soon as we stepped through the vine-covered wrought iron gates. (The event was conceived by Ruschitella and Burns in memory of their late mother's years of service to area healthcare).
While the 500 or so guests sipped their first glasses of wine (hence, the "vine") and bid on vacation packages and spa treatments, we had a hard time picking out our favorite of the 18 gowns modeled by volunteers from New Faces Models. (We were tempted to bid on a movie night, but declined in favor of a new Hummer. Just kidding.) Provided through a partnership with Heaven of Gowns, the dresses were one-of-a-kind samples from the likes of Balenciaga, Givenchy, Oleg Cassini, Bob Mackie and Halston.
There was the camellia-like Chanel gown that reflected the light, and the blue floral sculptural Pierre Cardin (both paired with decade-appropriate hairstyles created by Justin McKay). But the '50's-style brown Charles Cooper and the simple black Jacques Fath that would fit out Rita Hayworth fantasies to a "T" were also in the running. Finally, we gave up picking a favorite and made our way into the ballroom, where we gulped down everything from English pea soup to strawberry shortcake, then we danced the night away to Motown.
Count us in for next year - we'll be the ones wearing green taffeta in the Hummer.