Women of Style & Substance honored at CHOA benefit

Sold-out luncheon featured a Michael Kors fashion show and a hellacious valet line

The honorees being feted and fed at Monday’s sixth annual Women of Style & Substance luncheon benefit for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at the St. Regis hotel in Buckhead could rightfully be lauded for their philanthropic endeavors. But these same eight women also possess the ability to effortlessly glide down a fashion runway in fabulous frocks (and dangerously high heels) in front of a sold-out crowd consisting of hundreds of the city’s most high profile women. This was, of course, after they braved a hellacious valet line that snaked down West Paces Ferry and threatened to collide with oncoming traffic on Peachtree Road (Note to St. Regis management: When your ballroom guests use “Did you park across the street at Whole Foods and run across West Paces Ferry too?!” as a luncheon conversation ice breaker, it may be time to re-evaluate your current valet parking set up).

It was all a bit like “The Amazing Race,” but with a fanned out, grilled chicken breast, a farro and apple salad and a stunning Michael Kors fall fashion show thrown in. And event chairs Danielle Rollins, Ginny Brewer and Elizabeth Klump pulled out all the stops to ensure a see-and-be-seen, must-attend event to raise valuable funding for CHOA. “Everyone in this room can afford healthcare for their family,” the chairs reminded attendees just before the fall frocks were foisted down the catwalk. “But so many families in our state can’t. This is where Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta comes in.”

The afternoon, hosted by WSB-TV Action News anchor Jovita Moore, honored High Museum of Art board member Charlene Crusoe-Ingram, “Friends of Frida and Diego” High gala co-chair Barbarella Diaz, Maynard Jackson Youth Foundation CEO Brooke Edmund, Atlanta Opera and Atlanta Ballet board member Joanne Chesler Gross, Alliance Theatre board chair Vicki Palefsky, Atlanta Dream CEO Ashley Preisinger, Piedmont Park Conservancy gala chair Kristy Robison and Arthritis Foundation Crystal Ball co-chair Eileen Rosencrants.

And according to the Michael Kors forecast for fall, look for bright oranges and yellows, lots of zippers and leather, one form-fitting blue vinyl catsuit and yes, a camouflage coat coming soon to a high-end Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza boutique near you.

The emotional centerpiece of the luncheon? The moving remarks made by Karin L. Fulford Smithson, a CHOA parent, who recounted the harrowing birth of her now-2-and-a-half-year-old Hoyte. Hoyte was born two months premature with Esophageal Atresia and Tracheo-Esophageal Fistula. One day into life, Hoyte had to undergo a surgery to detach his esophagus from his trachea and attach it to his stomach. As attendees blinked back tears across the ballroom, Smithson recalled: “The doctors who performed this miraculous surgery had to operate on something the size of a piece of linguine. Hoyte is here because of his fighting spirit and because Children’s is here, right around the corner.”
The bashful tyke then received a standing ovation when he materialized from back stage and into his mother’s arms. Among those spotted applauding the Smithsons: Vikki Locke, Elizabeth Shultze Roth, Mara Davis, Aida Flamm, Tony Conway, Dennis Dean and Stacey Elgin.