Heart of Fashion is getting a makeover. At a reception/press conference at her Afton Oaks home, founder Vivian Wise announced that the annual runway extravaganza will continue but in a smaller way.
Instead of a three-day series of runway shows in November, she will host an annual one-night event in the spring like she did a few months ago. The "May 6th Mystery Show," a hybrid between an upscale fashion show and an old-fashion whodunnit at the Julia Ideson Library, raised more money in one night that Heart of Fashion did in several nights, Wise said.
"The show was too big," she said. "I'm going to take this big world and make it small."
Wise's view has changed, in part, because for the past several months she has been battling two rare skin disorders (Sweet's syndrome and Pyoderma gangrenosum (PG)) that have wracked her body but not her spirit. She still plans to remain involved in Houston's fashion scene, albeit in a different way.
"Heart of Fashion is not going anywhere. It's just going to be more true to its original purpose to do good," she said. "We can all do it together."
Even though there will not be a Heart of Fashion event in November, Wise honored the three charities that would have benefited — The Birthday Party Project, Star of Hope Mission and Recipe for Success — each with a $40,000 check. She also gave a $40,000 check to the Lupus Foundation, which was the beneficiary of the May event.
"I'm a person of my word," she said to great applause.
Recipe for Success board member Bob Cavnar, Texas Gulf Coast Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America president and CEO Rebecca Kramer, The Birthday Party Project representative Lesley O’Leary, and Star of Hope Mission vice president of marketing and communications Vivian Winslow, accepted the checks on behalf of their respective organizations.
Wise completed her remarks by saluting Abigail Evans, a 20-year-old who died of complications of a rare skin disorder known as epidermolysis bullosa (EB). Each guest took home a DVD copy of Butterfly Girl, a documentary about Evans that premiered at the SXSW Film Festival. Debra of America, a nonprofit that supports the EB community, was one of three charities that were beneficiaries at last year's Heart of Fashion.
Among those in the audience cheering Wise on were her father, Bill Wise, and sister Mary Elizabeth Wise, Texas Legacy Foundation development director Beth Muecke, Carolyn Farb, Fady Armanious, Penne Weidig, Shelley Taylor Ludwick, Sylvia Forsythe, Tamara Klosz Bonar, Melissa Holton, Sharon Schwartz, Donna Grehn, Lenny Matuszewski, Laura and Steve Jones, Matt Burrus and Michael Pearce, Maya Fasthoff, and Jaquel Andrews.