Salut! – A Toast to Fashion benefiting the Campagna Center


The Campagna Center kicked off the annual Toast to Alexandria week with a revamped night of shopping and fashion at posh Belle Haven Country Club. So long to the friendly Washington Street confines and pseudo catwalk of old. Volunteers and community activists sipped signature cocktails in hand painted glasses by designer and event co-chair Amanda Parks Bianco. The stylish celebration showcased the growing relationship between young volunteer hostesses with a cause and talented Catering and Special Events Director Nicole Duncan, proving that good work and good fashion go hand and hand.

The Junior Friends of The Campagna Center organize and execute the chic evening. The energy was palpable. This years fashion show and marketplace chairs Parks-Bianco and Lee Raynes brought together fresh looks and some edgier options to take Alexandria ladies through the social season, including traditional spring weddings and graduations, relaxing or elegant garden parties and summer nights out in Old Town. The range of styles on the runway transcended run of the mill conservative casual, proving Alexandria women are increasingly focusing on new trends and taking fashion risks.  Unexpected racerbacks and plunging necklines showed barely tan skin.

The selection of boutiques on site allowed shoppers to cover Old Town, Del Ray and Georgetown without dropping a quarter in a meter.  These ladies dont hold back. Many models bought pieces at fittings before they graced the runway. Casual elegance ruled the night, motivating savvy shoppers to snap up jewelry, purses and ready to wear pieces from the 18 onsite vendors. According to Campagna Center President and CEO Karen Hughes, This years Toast to Fashion was a great success, raising critical funds for The Campagna Centers programs.

Celebrated home town designer Allison Priebe Brooks of Queen Bee Designs, outfitted in turquoise Lilly Pulitzer and heavily accented with her signature gold bees, kept the crowd laughing as mistress of ceremonies. Local talent anchored the runway show including favorite neighborhood designers Stephanie Fornash of Georgetown and Old Towns own couture expert, Roya Hashimi of Elegance, Inc. 
Proving that behind every Campagna Center girl is crazy about a sharply dressed man, confident husbands shed ordinary business suits and dominated the runway in support their wives volunteerism. Michael Bianco and David Luscomb worked custom tailored suits by Luigi Bianci provided by Dashs of Old Town, owned by Victor Dash.

Nothing says preppy chic like the classic Lilly Pulitzer collection from signature store Tickled Pink. Owner Jennifer Carrolls reliable and generous support of this event is always a highlight for the sporty crowd. Many fourth generation Lilly lovers awaited the Palm Beach prints on the runway. As Lilly widens its scope from tots in classic shifts to sophisticated suiting, the pique swing coats of the spring line did not disappoint. 

All eyes hit center stage as the Campagna Family took to the runway. Christopher Campagna show cased the expanded mens line with splashy Phipps pants in Hibiscus Pink and a classic navy blazer. Wife Shannon is a past chair of the Junior Friends.  Daughters Liza and Beatrice charmed the crowd in classic Lilly shifts to close the catwalk on a high note. This familys tradition of service to our community spearheaded by great grandmother Elizabeth Anne Campagna reminded all in attendance of the tradition and character unique to The Campagna Center.

The Campagna Center truly does it all for the kids.  Incoming Chairwoman of The Junior Friends Anne Marie Goldsmith, who is ready to roll up her sleeves and push back her pearls remarked, There was such excitement at this years Toast to Fashion!  It was a fun event and a great way to support the programs of the Campagna Center. Goldsmith modeled mainstream, tailored looks for retail giants Ann Taylor Loft and Talbots. We hope our fundraising efforts will continue to have a positive impact on the children in the city, she said. With the success of the Toast events and the Christmas Walk, the Junior Friends remain a major fundraising force in Alexandria.

Many notable Alexandria merchants turned out to lend support, including the charming owners of Kiskadee, Darby Rush and Neil Hall, as well as always friendly Melinda Lynam of Mondays Child. Barkley Square outfitted fetching pooches in flashy leopard prints and gems fit for canine divas. The Little Monogram Shop covered the ever popular personalized market. The Hattery showcased classic millinery work worthy of the well brimmed ladies attending the Toast to Alexandria at Collingwood Sunday.

Next up for the good intentioned and well heeled friends of the Campagna Center was strutting their newly purchased stuff at The Toast to Alexandria gourmet food and wine tasting, perfecting the art of the double dip. Co-Chairs Nicole Palya and Brandi Graham Pensoneau promised and delivered a delightful afternoon of sipping and sampling continuing the gracious hospitality for which the Junior Friends of the Campagna Center are traditionally known. Ladies turned out in glorious hats and practical footware, including rubber wellies and Crocs.

Before the summer crickets chirp, the social and successful Junior Friend volunteers will turn their fashionable eyes to wool plaid gearing up for the 38th annual Scottish Christmas Walk. Serious shoppers are always thinking a season ahead, non?