On Monday September 17, 2012 the 3rd annual “XIX Most Fashionable Women in Philadelphia” were introduced by Mayor Michael Nutter and Nicole Miller Philadelphia store owner Mary K. Dougherty. This VIP event was part of the September Celebration of Fashion in Philadelphia.
I had the honor of attending this event and meeting many of the honorees who were chosen not just because of the label in their clothes, but because of the fashion and style they possess as philanthropists in the city of Philadelphia and beyond.
Guests had the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets ($100 each) for a fashion experience of a lifetime featuring a private tour of Nicole Miller’s showroom, two tickets to an exclusive Nicole Miller New York Runway fashion show and a $1000 gift card to Nicole Miller Philadelphia. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the raffle went to The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, a nonprofit organization sponsored by The City of Philadelphia, Macy’s and The Center City District dedicated to supporting and promoting emerging fashion designers in Philadelphia.
Strong, inspirational women filled the room and conversations centered around what this evening meant to them as well as to their families. Dana Spain, founder and former president of PAWS, said that she’s happy to finally see Philadelphia women recognized for their fashion contributions, that it’s exciting to see Philadelphians finally moving away from being known as a blue collar fat city who only eat cheese steaks and soft pretzels. A bit of advice from Simon to all women that I can get down with is, “Dress well and wear good shoes.” Lauren Hart, a member of the Gene Hart Memorial fund, Echoes Around The World and ONE, brought her three young daughters, all of whom have expressed an interest in fashion design for their futures, they were in awe of the women who filled the room. Kathy Romano told me of some future plans the Fresh Smiles Foundation (of which she is a founding member) has in store for the Southwest Track Club this November; they are donating 50 pairs of new sneakers to the team. Romano said, “if you look at what everyone here has done, you can undoubtedly see where charity meets style tonight.”
The full list of the honorees:
Floss Barber – CEO and principal designer of Floss Barber, Inc a noted leader in the interior design industry. Floss designed the first true espresso bar, the first restaurant in the Old City area of Philadelphia and the first ecologically conscious hotel.
Mary Jo Barthmaier – Partner and producer of Modoc Spring. As an independent film producer she is currently in production on “The Suspect”, a feature film in the psychological thriller genre.
Karen Bliss – Vice President of Marketing, Advanced Sports International a former U.S. professional cyclist who earned the “Winningest Cyclist in North America” title during her career as a seven time national champion on road and track.
Pat Ciarrocchi – Anchor and Reporter for CBS3, co-host of Talk Philly who has used the celebrity of her broadcasting career to better the lives of others. She has committed her personal time to women and children in the areas of fundraising and community activism. She is also the founder of The Pat Ciarrocchi Golf Classic and Pat’s Passion for Fashion Show and Auction which have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities.
Hope Cohen – Chief Media Personality and Author of Fast, Fresh and Simple (set for release this fall) is a member of the culinary communities of Philadelphia, the Mid-Atlantic and New England states. She is the founder of her own culinary consulting company, Strawberryblond Consulting.
Susan Francia – Olympic Gold Medalist Rower was raised in Abington, Penn. and served four years as a U.S. National Team member. She won a Gold Medal with the 2008 Olympic Team in Beijing as well as the 2012 Olympic Team in London.
Barbara Gee – Vice President of Strategic Alliances, Comcast Cable Communications who is passionate about mentoring and committed to giving back to the community.
Karen Giberson – President, Accessories Council has established herself as an accessory Jill-of-all-trades. She currently serves as the president of the Accessories Council, a not-for-profit, national advocacy organization established in 1995. Her charitable endeavors include the Bag Ladies Lunch to benefit Lupus research, The Foundation Fighting Blindness and Chabad’s Children of Chernobyl.
Lauren Hart – Singer, songwriter, Philadelphia Flyers Anthemist has a passion for music that is matched only by her passion for the charitable organizations she is a part of – The Gene Hart Memorial Fund, Echoes Foundation and ONE.
Kristen Laviolette - Supporter, Flyers Charities. Laviolette works with the Flyers charities to support organizations like the Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis & Education Center, YMCA, Philadelphia Youth Network and Living Beyond Breast Cancer.
Danuta Mieloch – Esthetician and owner of Rescue Rittenhouse Spa has become one of the most honored, respected and adored skin-care professionals since her arrival in Philadelphia in 2004.
Natalie Nixon – Associate Professor in the Fashion Merchandising Management Program and director of the Strategic Design MBA at Philadelphia University. Nixon has 15 years’ experience as an educator and has worked in the fashion industry as an entrepreneurial hat designer as well as in apparel sourcing for The Limited Brands.
Donna O’Brien – Owner and creative director, Beautiful Blooms and Beautiful Blooms Boutique a floral design company she built from the ground up after taking a single floral design class in her spare time. She has become an integral part of the Northern LIberties neighborhood in Philadelphia.
Emily Risser – Senior Analyst at Realty Resources has been as active in real estate valuation and consulting since 2000 as she has been in mentoring others in the field and giving back to the community.
Kathy Romano – Co-host, The Preston and Steve Show, 93.3 WMMR is a passionate supporter of Philanthropic causes. She is a founder of the Fresh Smiles Foundation, whose mission is to encourage children to explore their talents and skills.
Dana Spain – Founder of PAWS; Owner & Consultant at DLG Communications has been and instrumental executive in building her family’s business into a retail powerhouse. Spain, through her successes redefined her business model with a focus on web, new media and other brand extensions. She revived this division as DLG Communications. She is also the founder and former President of PAWS, the city’s largest rescue partner and no-kill shelter.
Susan Taylor – Dermatologist, Society Hill Dermatology has 22 years of clinical dermatology experience. She is the founding director of the Skin of Color Center at St. Luke’s Hospital Center in New York, the first of its kind in the nation. Taylor has co-authored several highly acclaimed books including the Reader’s Digest Complete Skin Care.
Rosemary Turner – President of UPS, Chesapeak District overseeing 15,000 employees and ensuring UPS provides the capabilities to support new business in five states. Turner currently serves as the board chair for the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and as a board member for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and Urban League of Philadelphia. She is also a member of the Mayor’s Private Sector Tax Force; the Diversity Council for Comcast/NBCUniversal; the CEO Ambassadors for 21 Century Education and the board of trustees at Loyola Marymount University.
Sarah Von Aken – Founder/CEO and Designer at SA VA and S.V.A Holdings Corporation, a vertically integrated private label apparel business based in Philadelphia. Each of the companies brands combines high design and quality construction with socially responsible business practices and community building through local job creation, sustainable and recycled raw materials and community partnerships. She is currently a Designer Critic Board Member for Kent State University and Virginia Commonwealth University as well as a Board Member for the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator.