When the Stella McCartney exec called from London to ask about participating in the American Cancer Society's annual Holiday Shopping Card, chair Laura Oden snapped to attention. The British clothier was one of a growing number of high-end retailers coming back to the fold after several years absence.
Versace, CH Carolina Herrera, Bottega Veneta, MCM and Fendi are among the haute labels among the 700 or so retail outlets participating. Of course, the Holiday Shopping Card stalwart, Bering's, is back as the most popular of all stores on the roster, with such stalwarts as Elizabeth Anthony, Tootsies and More Than You Can Imagine in the mix. Shops in the spanking new River Oaks District joining the party, in addition to Stella McCartney, are Intermix, Vince, Diptique and de Boulle jewelry.
The shopping began when stores opened at 10 a.m. on Thursday and continues through November 1. The $75 cost of the card goes to ACS and Oden anticipates that, as in last year, card sales will total $1.2 million. The card entitles bearers to a 20 percent discount on merchandise at participating shops.
In celebration of the 2015 campaign, more than 100 members of Victory, a fundraising branch of the American Cancer Society, turned out for the official launch at Up Restaurant in Highland Village, where owner Haidar Barbouti has hosted the festive gathering for the fourth year. Close to 30 Highland Village stores, including Lucchese and Joan Pillow Bridal Salon, are participating.
A second launch party, hosted by Holiday Shopping Card sponsor IW Marks Jewelers, was scheduled for Thursday night.
The enthusiastic crowd included Victory president Gigi Harbison, Cattle Baron's ball chairs Allison Flikerski and Lauren Maloy, Elizabeth and Alan Stein, Disney Harris, Katherine Mathews, Bruce Padilla and Shelby Kibodeaux, Lauren Stein, Darci Mulrine, Erica Burns, Melissa Hobbs and Danielle Comeaux.