We rocked the runway yet again at the 6th Annual Fashion for Paws Runway Show (F4P) held at the National Building Museum.Â The fundraising models had 8 weeks to raise $5,000 (or more, which many of them did) in order to walk and rock the catwalk and over 70 humans with around 40 + canines were seen dressed in a variety of designers from Tysons Galleria.
Now, instead of me writing again and again and again (wash, rinse, repeat) of showing appreciation for every sponsor whom, and deservedly so, were thanked on the stage, in the program, on the signage all over the National Building Museum, all over Facebook, Twitter, and multiple media outlets, through Fashion for Pawsâ€™ brilliant mastermind (and one of my best friends) Tara de Nicolas’ emails, Iâ€™m going to give you a link that will lead you to the sponsors, and say, yes, Marie Osmond was there as the Honorary Chairwoman and she did adopt a puppy named George after her father who passed away a few years ago (she was in town for the National Cherry Blossom Festival and F4P Sponsor WJLA made this happen), the gorgeous leggy blonde Ashlan Gorse from E! News was the Hostess with the Mostess (â€œDC is my 2nd home away from homeâ€ she told me back stage, sheâ€™s also the other half of gorgeous leggy blonde Philippe Cousteau, who was also on the runway with her), and lots of amazing things happened… but all the other blogs and media outlets can tell you about that.
I just want to offer a few thoughts from an insiderâ€™s POV:
First, as you know, there are two sides to every coin (head and tail). There are three sides to every story (his, yours, and the truth). There is no way on the planet that everyone, no matter what you do, nor what you say, even if it is for charity, will be HAPPY & SATISFIED.Â No. Way. That said, even if it rained $100 bills Saturday night in the Building Museum, and one million dollars was raised for the Washington Humane Society, and no letters fell off the display and onto the stage during the Honorary Chairwomanâ€™s speech and if she had adopted a pack of dogs, not just one and they all were blind with three legs, and if every model had taken the correct number of steps and stopped for the suggested amount of seconds for the cameras, and if the bridge didnâ€™t have a lot of bushes and giant letters in the way, and if the valet company literally had a one to one ratio of valets to cars, and if the catered food was so perfect that not a bite was left over, and if the cupcakes were all vegan yet tasted like silken cake love, and if the champagne in the VIP section literally spilled over into the GA section and flowed like water, and if every person in the joint won a Golden Ticket because, well, this is my fantasy, so just say they do and if couples were getting engaged, and suddenly POTUS appeared and announced there was finally world peace and he and Michelle were adopting a dog from WHS…..
It would not matter. Because among 1,700 people (remember, it was sold out), there would be still be that person or those people who would find ANYTHING wrong with the shade pink or the temperature of the champagne or the size of the screens or the kind of clothing Marie Osmond wore or well, anything. Thatâ€™s life. You canâ€™t please everyone.Â No good deed goes unpunished.Â The best intentions are never enough. I can go on.Â But I wonâ€™t because the positive feedback on the program, the energy, the execution of Saturday night has been better than any other year.
I cannot tell you the tremendous amount of work the staff, the volunteers, the Executive Committee, the sponsors, obviously the models, even the DJ, Seyhan Duru, put into this yearly escapade only because the bar keeps getting set higher and truly, as it should be.Â Ticket prices were raised this year, the minimum to walk as a model was higher, even the number of $10,000 tables grew.Â THIS IS A FUNDRAISER people and again, it was sold out and again we had people clawing to be the Model Washingtonian of the year, who incidentally the Female went to Nikki Burdine, from KY who received a last minute $10,000 check from a fan, sheâ€™s on air in KY and got her to $43,000+ and Mark Rothman, who was at $18,000+ won the Male prize.Â
Competitiveness, vanity, pride... they all drive these models to raise money (think of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Man & Woman of the Year, donâ€™t tell me that itâ€™s all for charity – itâ€™s a competition like no other, believe me, I did it) and frankly, who cares if all of those play a starring role in the plain fact that this year, there was over $700,000 raised to go to Washington Humane Society?Â Whatever motivates you, does so and so be it.Â Why do you think companies have contests and vendors have SPIFFS for sales people? Thatâ€™s how corporations are run and are successful.Â Personally, I think it is brilliant for F4P to continue this type of competition and I can only see it going far.
This year, the precision of the run of show (thank you to producers Chris Brown, Brendan Kownacki and Tommy McFly also for the excellent videos), the organization of the hair, makeup, doggie room, model practice, and communication, pre-event, and during event was by far the best Iâ€™ve seen since being involved in day one in the Inaugural F4P show.Â Â With Tara at the helm, the show has been going on with her leadership and creativity and PATIENCE (how do you deal with it?).Â Â WHS President & CEO Lisa LaFontaine gave a kind and gracious introduction to Tara on stage and as always, she gave appreciative and humble words.
People, let’s remember this.Â The event is about fashion, itâ€™s about fundraising, itâ€™s about bridging communities together, itâ€™s about learning about working with other entities, itâ€™s about teaming together to make something greater than you alone, happen. Itâ€™s about dogs, yes, but itâ€™s about the connection between humans and animals, teaching compassion, absorbing that the fact that we do need dogs (they sniff bombs, they lead the blind, they are used with cancer patients, they are our policemenâ€™s best asset often, they let us know when someone is having a seizure, they work with the military, they work with vets, they open the hearts of inner city children who have never seen a dog treated well…) and we do need to be kind to animals AND to PEOPLE.Â It stuns me how mean and nasty people who are in the charity world can really be to one another.Â It’s heart breaking really.
This town is small, word travels fast because everyone wants to have an opinion and a blog and Tweet and frankly social media is a double edge sword, it can be used for good and for bad.Â And it’s even worse when people are mean to one another in person.
I just hope that we can sit back a bit and appreciate the GOOD that came out of Saturday night.Â Every year Tara and team do their best to listen to the feedback and usually it is very productive, so thank you, and get it better the next time.Â But for now, Iâ€™d like for everyone involved to OWN the night and the eight weeks (or 12 months) leading up and say THANK YOU, you did a damn good job this year.
We’ll put up more photos and links for your enjoyment ….
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a leading source of information for the “who, what, when, and where” of Washington, DC’s elite social, professional, and philanthropic scene, which she founded in November of 2006. In 2012 she launched Pacific Punch, based in Los Angeles. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia and when she’s not out on the town, she’s reading or writing while sipping fine wine, or traveling the country and the world ISO adventures, beauty, fun, food, style, libations, music, and the good life. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.