Ladies spring into fashion at Blue Ribbon Luncheon and Fashion Show

VERO BEACH — The 12th annual Blue Ribbon Luncheon and Fashion Show to benefit the Hibiscus Children’s Center (HCC) promised “A Spring Sensation,” and they delivered right from the start.

 And as they arrived to the sold-out luncheon it was clear that the stylish and fashionable ladies attending were every bit as exquisitely dressed as the models who would later grace the runway. “What’s great about the event is that it’s all local businesses participating; it’s a really nice Vero Beach event,” said co-chair Barbara Silva. “Cooper and Company has been the steady one, and this year we expanded the Twirl children’s fashions.”

The luncheon was held once again at the Oak Harbor Clubhouse, and as guests entered they were greeted with champagne, had the opportunity to have makeovers from several Chanel representatives, and perused the tempting silent auction items.

“If I get everything I bid on, my husband’s going to divorce me,” laughed Brenda Lloyd.

Tearoom models, showcasing stunning jewelry from the Laughing Dog Gallery, wandered through the crowd during the reception and later sported new pieces in the dining room as well.  Laughing Dog donated a percentage of sales to Hibiscus.

“This is unbelievable; beyond anything I ever dreamed it would be,” said LaVaughn Tilton, when asked about her original vision for the organization. Tilton founded Hibiscus in 1985 after viewing a video of children who had been abused.

“I wanted to do something for the children,” said Tilton.  “There weren’t many foster homes available and I saw a need.”

In her welcome address, Silvia Cancio, HCC Guild President, noted that the Blue Ribbon Luncheon was one of many held throughout the nation in recognition of April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Mistress of Ceremonies Christie Knight started the show off with what she called, “fashionista appetizers,” a group of adorable children modeling a selection of clothes from Twirl.

“How different their lives are from the children at Hibiscus,” said tablemate Ann Donnelly as we watched the self-assured youngsters.  “Both deserve the same lives, but some get it and some don’t.  We’re the only ones that can help.”

Funds raised at the event help the staff of the Hibiscus Children’s Center to protect and care for children who reside at the Center, for weeks, months or even years.

Sandy Divine, Indian River HCC Foundation Board President, told guests that they were the Fairy Godmothers to the children at Hibiscus.

“The children say thank you, thank you, from the bottom of their hearts,” said Divine.

Following a delightful menu of fruit gazpacho, chicken piccata and grilled shrimp, and a banana cream parfait, the main fashion show began.

Tall, willowy models in impossibly high heels strutted down the runway in a delightful mix of springtime must-have fashions selected by Cooper and Company’s Melinda Cooper.

Fashions began with eye-catching resort wear featuring brightly colored tops, sweater-sets and jackets paired with crisp white pants and dresses. A number of pieces spanned the ages, taking us back to the 1960’s with flowing paisley tunic tops over slim-legged slacks, and to the 1950’s with girly summer dresses.

And from ruched to chiffon, bright coral to black, a dazzling assortment of elegant evening gowns completed the collection.

The April Blue Ribbon Campaigns began in 1989 with tragedy; the abuse of a Virginia woman’s grandchildren at the hands of their parents, and eventual death of her grandson. 

She tied a ribbon to the antenna of her van “to make people wonder,” and has since attracted the attention of millions to the plight of abused children and the need for abuse prevention efforts. {igallery 368}

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