Women's Cancer Research Institute - Design a Cure - Supported by Cedars Sinai Community and Fred Segal

A fabulous Brentwood estate was the scene for the kick-off event for  'Design A Cure,' a multi-faceted campaign master-minded by Fred Segal, Fun Santa Monica in partnership with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and others to benefit Cedars-Sinai Women's Cancer Research Institute (WCRI) at) at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.

Designer Sharon Segal, Fred Segal, and Dr. Lauri Gray "work" the red carpet photographers

Fred Segal and Sharon Segal, proud partners in the event, were looking fabulous, and Dr. Beth Karlan of the WCRI was gorgeous in a red satin Mandarin style evening jacket.  Dr. Lauri Gray walked the red carpet with Marsha Grannigan, Chair of  the WCRI and Nancy Eggin, having some fun with the photographers.

Dr. Beth Karlan is flanked by enthusiastic supporters

The 'Design A Cure' concept incorporates creation of a limited edition series of celebrity-inspired designer t-shirts offered for sale exclusively at Fred Segal Fun with all proceeds going to breast cancer research.  Both celebrities and fashion designers volunteered their time and talents to create these outstanding fashion items.  One shirt from each brand was signed by the celebrity 'muse' and auctioned off over the Internet.  The remaining 100 shirts created will be sold exclusively at Fred Segal Fun, Santa Monica with all proceeds going to the WCRI.

Some of the 23 celebrity t-shirts being auctioned/sold to benefit the Cedar-Sinai Women's Cancer Research Institute

Some of the most influential designers in the world worked in collaboration with the music and entertainment industry's female stars to create unique pieces suiting the personality of each participant.  Twenty-three custom designs were available. These involved the creative talents of stars Sarah Chalke (of NBC's "Scrubs") for TART, Demi Moore for Scanty, Kelly Ripa for 2 B Free, Samantha Harris for Free People, LaToya Luckett for True Religion, Eve for People's Liberation, Kerry Washington for Paige Premium, Ming Na for Nu, Anna Pacquin for Free People, Christina Milian for E.V.I.L., Tischina Arnold for Disney Vintage, Ginnifer Goodwin for Charlotte Tarantola, Emmanuelle Chriqui for Materialust, Jennifer Morrison for Blue Cult, Fergie for Hurley, Elisha Cuthbert for St. Grace, Mandy Moore for Mblem, Beyonce Knowles for House of Dereon, Christina Aguilara for Sharon Segal, Regina King for Live Life Denim, Cameron Diaz for William Rast, Jennifer Aniston for C & C, Rachel Leigh Cook for Taverniti So, and Sheryl Crow for Rock and Republic. 

Sarah Chalke, of NBC's "Scrubs" and other fame vamps for the photographers

The private "public house party" location was a gorgeous tile-roofed, vine-covered Spanish style abode with a large wooden front door with ornate metal trim.  Illuminated brighty from within, the place looked warm and inviting.  All guest entertainment took place outdoors however, with red carpet excitement staged in the front yard (with media at a thick, three-deep presence, no less) and big time partying in the generous back yard.

The entrance to the backyard and party spot was a pebbled drive flanked by illuminated square columns with the 'Design A Cure' emblem in script.  Intimate seating across the sprawling back yard was created with white leather couches and illuminated cubes for tables that emanated a soft white glow.  Stunning white orchids spilled from round crystal vases on each table.  Pink and amber lighting was shot into the leafy spread of each of the mature trees in the yard, creating a soft, inviting glow to the entire event.  Well-placed heat lamps and an outdoor fireplace added appreciated warmth as well as visual pleasure.  The almost-full harvest moon added light as well as a little touch of magic.

Handsome Doug Robb of Hoobastank and friend pause to give the photographers a thrill

Entertainment industry celebrities walking the carpet included lovely Sarah Chalke, Hoobastank's handsome Doug Robb, Anna Pacquin, Samantha Hess (Dancing with the Stars), Cynthia Bassinet (Last Dance), Mandy Moore (upcoming film 'Twist of Fate') Meredith Monroe, and many others. Pacquin looked darling in a coat that would suit Little Red Riding Hood and perfectly buttoned and t-strapped wedge shoes.

Lovely Anna Pacquinn

Everyone whooped it up as Paige Denim founder, Paige Adams-Geller strutted her stuff- in what else but jeans?- on the carpet.  That night, however, Adams-Geller told me she was "focused on a campaign built around t-shirts supporting an issue involving 'genes' vs. 'jeans.'"  A focus on genes is quite important; this was underscored by Dr. Karlan's words to me about breast cancer. 

Paige Adams-Geller, founder of Paige Denim, enjoys the red carpet

"People don't realize that their dad's family history contributes equally (with the mother's),' Karlan told me.  'The genes that place you at risk are not the sex chromosomes.'  So the sort of "old rules" followed in diagnosing breast cancer need to be change since the genetic determinant for breast cancer can come from either parent- something new to ponder.

"Our mission (at WCRI)," Dr. Karlen told the crowd as she expressed her thanks for their presence, "is to end cancer of the breast for women.  We are a team, a team that works in the laboratory, a team that works in the operating room caring for patients, but education and awareness is really a key for this as well.  We make discoveries, you need to help us spread the word and tell people not to be scared' but we can live long lives and even more fulfilled lives appreciating how precious every day is.  Two facts to take away, I guess.  One, we said early detection is important, especially for younger women.  Get your mammogram.  A new study says digital mammography is a lot better than regular mammography.  Ask for it.'

'I think our first real victory in the war on cancer,' she added, 'is the cervical cancer vaccine.  Cervix cancer is going to be like polio for our children.  They should never know those words.  We're going to be giving vaccinations to girls between the ages of 9 and 26' We hope that kind of preventative approach is what we'll have for breast cancer before too long.'

DJ Michelle of DJ Pesce spinning terrific hip hop and 80's hits on vinyl!

Event planner Jackie Brand of JLine produced the well-planned evening of fun with no detail left unattended.  Fabulous hip hop and 80's music was provided by DJ Pesce, with capable DJ Michelle at the helm of the musical program. spinning vinyl, no less.  Libations were courteously provided by Ana Gallegos' crew from Beautiful Bartenders- including incredible mojitos served up with fresh mint and stirrers made from genuine sugar cane.  A variety of food treats was available.  Katana robata and sushi bar were on hand to satisfy with delectables featuring out-of-this-world crabmeat.  The Lodge provided comfort foods including the world's-best mashed potatoes.  Cookies and adorable mini sprinkle-topped cupcakes were passed near the end of the evening, stirring up conversations throughout.

'Cupcakes are the new thing,' declared a very happy party guest Peter Giacomo.  'Yes, if you are an expert with an icing bag, you are 'in',' media man Jeffrey Jolson-Colburn added.  I quite agree, what with the new dessert bakery just opened on San Vicente in Brentwood.  We discussed how bakery shops- with specialties featuring designer cupcakes- are becoming big hits.  Seems those fashion-savvy folk at Fred Segal are on the cutting edge of all areas new- fashion, food, and otherwise.

Photographer takes a moment to enjoy accolades for his volunteer work shooting the Design A Cure stars and their t-shirts

Can't wait to see how the next phase of the 'Design A Cure' campaign unfolds.


Photos and text copyright2006 M D Caprario.

Thanks to Jeffrey for adding fun to the evening, and to Peter and his date for the great conversation.  Here's to renaissance of cupcakes!

M D Caprario is a free lance writer working in NY, LA, and San Francisco.
Reach her at [email protected].

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