Key to the Cure Kickoff with Christian Louboutin

Saks Fifth Avenue’s Quarter-Million-Dollar Triple Play for the Cancer Crusade

By Megan Pruitt Winder. Photography Jenny Antill, Priscilla Dickson, Daniel Ortiz.  |  Photos by Jenny Antill, Priscilla Dickson, Daniel Ortiz
January 14, 2013
Event Date:
October 17, 2012

Red-Souled Night
One of fall’s most anticipated social happenings lured more than 650 guests for a high-voltage trifecta of fun and fund-raising at Saks Fifth Avenue, all to benefit CancerForward: The Foundation for Cancer Survivors. Saks Fifth Avenue partnered with the incomparable Beth Sanders Moore, the nonprofit’s founder and a cancer survivor, to craft the moving, memorable evening that boasted a record-setting turnout. The night was a sea of red-soled shoes click-clacking across the marble floors of the generous retailer, as Monsieur Christian Louboutin himself, was to preside over a VIP dinner later that evening; all told, the big-hearted crowd shopped enthusiastically, raising an extraordinary $250,000 in just one night, equaling the totals of the event’s previous two years combined. Chair tri-couples Elizabeth and Gary Petersen, Joyce and Hugh Echols, and Susan and Mike Plank ecstatically presided. Presenting sponsors included Saks Fifth Avenue, natch, as well as Sewell Automotive Group, 51fifteen Restaurant and Lounge, the Teichman Family, Ann and Clarence Cazalot, and the Petersens.
The first part of the eve, the Key to the Cure Kickoff — the launch for a 14th annual Saks shopathon benefit weekend that to date has raised millions around the country — unfurled in two acts: Level one boasted morsels from Latin Bites, RA Sushi, Brio, Straits and Dolce Delights, quaffs of Absolut Vodka Lemon Drop martinis passed by A Fare Extraordinaire and vibe-y musical numbers performed by Julie Johnson Jazz Band. Well-heeled ones also congregated on the second floor for the Houston Forward Movers presentation. Saks Fifth Avenue president and chief merchandising officer Ronald Frasch, in from Manhattan, joined Houston store director Terry Zmyslo in honoring a dozen luminaries, all cancer survivors, who exemplify the spirit of moving on. Screen and television actress Tracy Nelson, a three-time cancer survivor, received the Flash Forward Mover Award in absentia (to be bestowed upon her in a ceremony this January in L.A.), joined by Houston honorees Donna Bruni, Ann Cazalot, Chris Curran, William V. Flores, Maryann Hoffer, Marcy E. Kurtz, Cathy Lamboley, Brenda Love, Brian T. Ross, Trey Velasco, and honoree Merele Yarborough; alongside co-founder Brian Cruver with wife Catherine. Also receiving accolades were the H. Rudy Teichman Family: The first annual Anchor of Strength Award, established to shine light on caregivers, was accepted by family matriarch Donna Teichman and her son, Brian Teichman.
The night’s finale was a VIP, sold-out dinner at Saks’ 51fifteen with a PA by the designer of dreamy, entrance-making red-soled stilettos and platforms: Christian Louboutin, who jetted in from Paris to attend. In the soleful set: Luvi and Carlos Wheelock, Caroline Finkelstein, Stephanie Cockrell, Greggory Burk, Allison Bagley, David Bamford, Lindsey Dinges, Mary Stanton Smith, Lisa Holthouse, Lacy Baird, Tiffany Smith, and Cassandra Johnson.