The Women Go To Work

With their biggest fundraising event of the year quickly approaching, the ladies of the St. Joe’s Holiday Ball committee gathered over a generously provided breakfast at Lily Grace Cosmetics & Spa on Main Street Ann Arbor for their second Steering Committee style social. The volunteers and event coordinators got down to business to discuss plans for the upcoming Holiday Ball in the midst of the tasteful fashion show co-hosted by Cyndi Clark, owner of Lily Grace, and Aaron Pelo, Creative Director at SHEI. The result of their collaboration was an elegant, carefully curated show featuring six looks that reflected the burgeoning styles of the 1940’s.

Cyndi Clark (1st row left) stands with Creative Director Aaron Pelo and the rest of the models for the 1940's-themed show.

Cyndi Clark (1st row left) stands with Creative Director Aaron Pelo and the rest of the models for the 1940's-themed show.

In an age when women began joining the workforce, a trendy working-girl style was born to combine the glitz and glamour of the roaring twenties with a more practical wardrobe suited for the workplace. In honor of the ball’s 40th anniversary, trends from the 1940’s were deemed an appropriate for commemorating the occasion.

As the models took the floor, Aaron and Cyndi talked the audience through various trends in fashion and beauty that are making a reappearance this season. Clothing supplied by local boutiques cabi and AYLA & CO. included classic velvet pieces decorated with fringe, which is a staple of many fall collections, as well as simple dresses and jackets accented with princess seams and adorned with various appliques and trims. As Cyndi walked the room through the trends in hair and makeup that are being showcased in many designers’ shows this season, from matte red lips to curls and updos, the volunteers took note of the ideas they could consider incorporating for their own benefit at this year’s holiday ball.

The event organizers are all particularly passionate about raising the money for such a charitable cause, and the women are more excited than ever about the increase in donations they are expecting for this year’s event. “2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the St. Joe’s Holiday Ball. The first event was held in the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor with about 80 attendeesthis year we’re expecting 950 attendees and are on track to raise one million dollars for the transformation of the hospital's cancer center,” St. Joseph’s Director of Special Events Melissa Sheppard said. “Today’s event is a fashion social, so Lily Grace Cosmetics & Spa, our generous host, along with cabi and AYLA & CO., presented today’s fashions and 1940’s trends that we’ll probably be seeing at this year’s cocktail party and holiday ball. They’ve done this for several years for our second committee meeting, which is a nice opportunity for the community to come together and get excited about the fashions for this year.”

The commitment shown by the local businesses involved really reflects the admirable fundraising intentions for the ball. From the boutiques' donating clothes to the coordinating beauty team at Lily Grace, volunteers are eager to pitch in and support the promotion of such an worthwhile event with real style. “It’s a beautifully put on event for a lovely cause,” Cyndi’s daughter-in-law and team member Rachel Jackson said of the show. Cyndi’s personal commitment to the cause is also evident in every aspect of her involvement—not only does she host the event and provide hair and makeup for the show, but she also donates 10% of all purchases made by steering committee members on the day of the event to the hospital's cause. 

Photography by Rachel Beglin