Both hilarious and sweet, adoptable pets and some novice models took to the runway together at the $100-per-person Humane Society Naples Tea and Fashion Show Nov. 20.
The 11th annual event filled the Naples Hilton banquet room with 200 supporters and featured a collection of often pet-oriented silent auction items.
While circulating, would-be bidders paused to pet and snuggle up to the warm, fuzzy canine models carried about by volunteers. Some of the attendees were as much fun as the pets: Hudson Wachowich, a 4½-year old in a Polo Ralph Lauren shirt and brown moccasins, was a hit as he darted about with his granddad, “Boppy,” in pursuit.
Few missed the PRP Wine International table for nips of a couple of whites and a red available only through private tastings and client events. Their auction donation included a sommelier kit with a “decantus” that decants wine when poured directly into glasses.
“This year has been about change, ” explained chairperson Holly Wachowicz, Hudson’s mother and also the party’s chair for the preceding two years. “I continue doing this for the Humane Society in order to help change animal lives.”
She selected the theme, “Tea in the Tropics” and created the function room decor — abundant orchids by Sweet Charity/Kimberley Speer Miller, tables and chairs “dressed” in pink-and-green organza accents with goody bags in like colors. The tea menu ran from a garnished salad to tea sandwiches, berries with Creme Anglaise and scones with Devonshire cream. The accompanying kiwi wine was naturally tinged palest green.
Volunteer coordinator Leslie Logemann introduced both professional and volunteer models, coiffed by Philip Douglas Salon stylists and made up at Saks Fifth Avenue, and their furry charges. All applauded 10-year-old Poinciana student Scarlett Colburn, who was among an assortment of models that included an FGCU student and veterinarian Anne Chauvet, who regularly shuttles between Naples and Sarasota.
The models were variously clad in striking, flirty dresses, pants-and-blouse ensembles and a jumpsuit, all from Tickled Pink Boutique. When not showing off live pooches, they displayed enlarged images by Gina Stancel Photography of adoptable felines, since cats are less than gracious as live models.
The six canines, clad in fashions from Posh Paws and City Claws, were preceded by firefighter Michelle Delaney and her search-and-rescue dog, Rena. Audience eyes misted as the orphan animals strode, rode or were carried along the runway with narrations of their distressing histories. But tears turned to cheers as three North Naples firefighters came out carrying the final canines. The department’s first-ever charity calendar was unveiled at the event, and sales were brisk.
Andy Reed, director of development, estimated about $12,000 in net proceeds — “crucial in view of the our ongoing expansion projects,” he said.