A rainy day at the Race Course on Thursday didn’t dampen the spirits of the glamorous crowd attending the 16th Annual Saratoga Fashion Show. Nearly 500 fashionistas filled the At the Rail Pavilion tent to support the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region. Guests sipped on champagne generously donated by Crush and Cask and began bidding on silent auction items while backstage local models were putting on their first looks. Each place setting featured drawings from children at the Ronald McDonald house that were transformed into place mats as well as bottles of olive oil from DZ Restaurants.
Walt Adams took the stage introducing the day’s events to a crowd that included Honorary Chair Nancy Bambara, Michele Riggi, Patty Riggi, Sandy Foley, Gerard and Heather Wise and Dr. Mark Moreau. Natalie Sillery, fashion icon and owner of Saratoga Trunk, took the stage and began her presentation.
(Photos: Lisa Miller, Studio De Luce)
Natalie’s contributions to this annual event and RMHC are breathtaking and each year she seems to outdo herself with the amount of energy and passion she puts into the day’s events. This year was no exception, as Natalie’s runway show featured a dazzling array of fashion including Don O’neill for Theia, Kay Unger, Kokin and local designer Daniel Moses amongst others. Guests were transfixed by Natalie’s ‘Trunkettes’ as they took to the runway showcasing everything from separates to couture gowns.
The Theia pieces stunned as they glided by, striking a beautiful balance of classic elegance and ethereal allure. Carole Moreau, Trina Lucas, Christianne Smith, Cassandra Partyka, Melissa Brumley, Hagen Morris, Alexis Mokler, Anne Donlan, Samantha Bosshart, Melissa Zieker, Amy Raimo and Mayor Joanne Yepsen were some of the lucky ladies wearing the designer clothes and did a fabulous job showcasing each look.
Immediately following the runway show was a live auction, opening with a trip to New York City and the Theia showroom to pick out a gown with Don O’neill himself. There were several competing bids before the trip sold to Patty Riggi for an impressive $7,000, but before Natalie was able to move on to the next item Michele Riggi offered a matching bid and another Theia trip was sold, to huge applause from the audience. Other live auction items included two stunning photographs from Lisa Miller’s Foal Project Collection, which depict the indescribable moment of connection between a mare and her foal at birth. Also on hand supporting RMHC were Colleen Carlson, Elaine Sillery, Beth Smith, Stephanie Collis, Val Collins, Jenn Perry and Mara King as well as RMHC’s Jeff Yule and Chris Turner who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the event a success. Backstage we spotted Don O’neill surprising new mother Rebecca Beers with a custom painted romper for her adorable son Julian, who may now officially be the best dressed baby in Saratoga.
While the day was full of fun and fabulous style, the reason behind the Saratoga Fashion show was never lost. It has become a place of love and support for families as their lives are turned upside down, a message that was beautifully articulated by Leisha Arbogast, who shared her family’s story with the audience. As her son went through multiple heart surgeries, the House became the one constant for her family. The funds raised will help ensure the Ronald McDonald House of Albany can continue to welcome families whose children are receiving care at nearby hospitals, never turning anyone away due to their inability to pay.