St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center’s 40th Haute with Heart

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Fashion created the largest fundraiser of the year for St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center, and over the past 40 years, it continues to grow and is a highlight of the year bringing in supporters from all over the county for this East County grassroots non-profit. This one-of-a-kind event supports programs for the more than 400 adults with developmental disabilities. This year was an exceptional event, with inspiring people, stories and the unyielding dedication of St. Madeleine’s staff and supporters.

Fashion created the largest fundraiser of the year for St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center, and over the past 40 years, it continues to grow and is a highlight of the year bringing in supporters from all over the county for this East County grassroots non-profit. This one-of-a-kind event supports programs for the more than 400 adults with developmental disabilities. This year was an exceptional event, with inspiring people, stories and the unyielding dedication of St. Madeleine’s staff and supporters.

Held at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront on Aug. 19, this year’s theme “Vogue” complimented the 40th Haute with Heart Fashion Show & Luncheon in a very special celebration. Crowds of supporters came early to shop in the boutique where venders brought the best of their collections with partial sales benefitting the Center. Silent and live auction items were an explicit step up and the bidding was fun and fruitful for the cause. With many familiar faces and a lot of new ones, the social hours before were filled with laughter, praise and a sense of pride displaying the reason for this particular event. Giving St. Madeleine clients the tools they need to succeed in life. And the fashion show that followed was heartwarming and stunning.

Tears of joy fell from St. Madeleine’s CEO Debra Emerson as clients escorted by family and staff took the runway in the latest fashions provided by Macy’s. Many of them paused on the runway giving her a flash of a smile, a special wave or a spectacular vogue pose in honor of her commitment to their daily lives.

Then came an exquisite fashion show produced by Leonard Simpson’s Fashion Forward and co-produced by Brittany Simpson Shiperly of Fashion LemonAid. With both women and men’s fashions, celebrity designers presented the latest in couture designs of Merlin Castell, Aimee Meals, Carry Rederick, Debbie Ngheim, Debbie Solan, Gladdis Perez, Gloria Parker Designs, Nolan Dean, Oseah, Randal Byers, Satori Boutique and a vintage collection provided by Fashion Forward. Sheer is in, black is hot, color is beautiful and the show was as diversified as the clients that St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center serves every day. It was a remarkable display of fashion that kept those who attended in awe.

St. Madeleine’s special honorees for the day were Carlee and Laurie McGrath of the McGrath Family Foundation for their years of support for St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center and their philanthropic legacy locally and around the world.

Emerson said that this event would not be possible without all of the support from the people that attended the event, its sponsors, the St. Madeleine Sophie’s Auxiliary who first began the fashion show 40 years ago and began the annual tradition of celebrating fashion and charity together.

“I see a lot of people that are here for the first time and that is a guarantee that you’ll be back next year,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to do what I do and this event would not be what it is today without my staff. With a warm heart and tears in my eyes I would like to present our honorees Laurie McGrath and Carlee McGrath. Laurie has supported me personally and professionally and many of our projects and St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center.”

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