September 26, 2009 9:26:00 PM
Jan Swoope - [email protected]
As sure as Mother Nature drops tantalizing autumnal hints this time each year, Soroptimist International of Columbus can be counted on to be hard at work planning its annual style show, luncheon, silent auction and tablescape showcase. The 36th annual event takes place Thursday, Oct. 8, at Trotter Convention Center.
The mid-day gala featuring styles by Melange and more than 40 tables imaginatively decorated by area designers and shops has, at its heart, a mission of service. All funds raised are used to support the service organization''s scholarships and multiple projects. Soroptimist''s specific focus this year is providing computers and GED education programs for the clients of Recovery House, a local chemical dependency residential treatment center for women.
"Recovery House has been one of our primary projects all along," said style show co-chair Vivian Yeatman. "Soroptimist''s goal is to undertake service work that benefits women, girls and children, and we feel strongly that''s a program we should continue to support."
On the runway
A strained economy doesn''t keep women from wanting to look their best -- in the workplace and out.
"At the style show, we''ll be showing how to update your wardrobe with some great basics without spending a lot of money," said Deborah Gardner, owner of Melange.
There are staples every woman needs in her wardrobe, she suggested. They include a white blouse, denim jacket, nice pair of jeans, trench coat, tunic top, black and brown dress pants and, of course, the black basic dress and skirt.
Popular fall colors showing up on runways include orange, royal blue, purple and reds. And brown is still favored as the new black. Components like long tunics and big, bold jewelry and handbags are also designer picks.
"With all the talk of the economy, we must stay positive," Gardener said. "It''s important to have fun with fashion."
A silent auction from 11:15 to noon will provide patrons with opportunities to take home something extra. Auction items to date include a four-night stay in Gatlinburg, Tenn., a Mississippi State University football autographed by Coach Dan Mullen, jewelry, restaurant and furniture store gift certificates, tickets to cultural events and decorative home decor items.
"The auction is always fun, and it makes a big difference in funding our service projects throughout the year," Yeatman said.
At noon, patrons will enjoy a Celestial Creations'' luncheon of chicken salad on red leaf lettuce with cranberries, marinated green beans, fresh grapes, melon and strawberries and chocolate chip cheese cake -- all while seated at tables individually decorated by local designers and merchants.
The sea of tabletop creativity provides a distinct wow factor when doors are opened into the convention center''s main floor. From the elaborate to the quirkily clever, each tablescape is its own vignette. All attending are encouraged to tour the entire room before or after the style show itself.
"We really appreciate the businesses that have steadily supported us by doing tablescapes for many years; and every year we have new businesses and designers, too" the co-chair said. "There is always something different to see."
In Recovery House, Soroptimist finds a perfect match for its service goals. By helping purchase the necessary computers and software to improve education and job skill levels for the agency''s residents, the club hopes to provide a strong tool in the quest for recovery.
"The educational side is a big part of our program," said Recovery House Administrative Assistant Cori Hanson. "We have many that do come in who don''t have a high school education."
With each ticket purchased for the Oct. 8 show and auction, patrons are making a difference.
Tickets for the Soroptimist event are $20, available from any Soroptimist member, or at Melange, 62 Brickerton St., off Military Road. For information or tickets, contact style show co-chairs Yeatman or Melinda Barr at 662-328-5387.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.