More than 800 stylish guests attended Designed for a Cure, at the enormous Ice Palace Studios on February 13. The elegant event, a partnership between the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and international fashion designer Oscar de la Renta raised a total of more than $850,000 which will directly fund cancer research at Sylvester.
De la Renta himself spontaneously donated $100,000 of the funds himself.
The party began with a reception and silent auction with tasting tables from 30 of Miami’s top restaurants, such as Yardbird, Zuma, Haven, Mandolin, Sushi Samba, Area 31, Swine and Khong River House. Chef Fabio Viviani of Siena Tavern Miami and Chef Hung Huynh of Catch Miami, both recognized for their appearances on Bravo’s Top Chef, were also among the featured chefs and mixologists at the benefit.
Following the reception, guests were seated in an adjacent room for a runway show of de la Renta's stunning 2014 spring collection, emceed by television personality Louis Aguirre and local philanthropist Sarah Arison. The highlight of the evening was a second, powerful fashion show in which Sylvester patients/survivors and their physicians walked the runway in de la Renta’s designs.
De la Renta received a standing ovation, after which he addressed the crowd from his seat. "It used to be that 'All roads led to Rome,' mused the designer, "Now, all roads lead to Miami... This city has what no other city has- in particular so many of my Latino brothers."
The famed designer was born and raised in the Dominican Republic.
After describing the difficulty he experienced in traveling to Miami amid the treacherous weather in New York, the designer explained, "There is one person I could not disappoint- an extraordinary doctor and friend - Stephen Nimer. I'm alive today because of this man."
De la Renta recounted his cancer diagnosis in 2006 and went on to say, "We live life like we are going to live forever. Then, when you have this worry, you appreciate every single day you are alive. When you wake up you say - 'thank you.'"
He lauded Dr. Nimer, stating, "He is going to do great things for this city. We are here because we want to eradicate cancer- but it takes money! The little help that you can give will help the life of a human being."
The evening continued with a live auction filled with exclusive items, such as backstage access to one of De la Renta's shows, followed by dancing and dessert.