It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas when shopping gets so spirited. That happened when well-heeled women started a bidding war for handbags that would put the “Hunger Games” competition to shame. That was the scene at the 11th Annual Lupus LA Hollywood Bag Ladies Luncheon, and oh what fun it was.
The Lupus LA event is always a gathering place for Hollywood’s most charitable celebrities and socialites who flocked to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel to pick up pricey pocketbooks. The fundraiser features a silent auction where guests get very passionate about staking their claim on handbags donated from elite designers and stars. After the opening reception bidding frenzy, the ladies were treated to lunch and a dazzling “Parade of Handbags” fashion show featuring bags from designers including Burberry, Jimmy Choo, and Fendi.
The record-breaking luncheon was especially memorable as it raised almost half a million dollars for Lupus LA, making it the most successful Hollywood Bag Ladies Luncheon in its 11-year history. The four extraordinary women who were honored as Women of Achievement also made the event very special.
Kelly Stone has been involved with Lupus LA from the beginning, and she and her famous sister Sharon Stone, were honored along with their mother Dorothy Stone. All have been instrumental in the success of the Bag Ladies luncheons over the years. And Janice Wallace has been devoted to the growth and success of the organization which goes beyond the fact that she is the wife of Dr. Daniel Wallace, founder of Lupus LA. All join in the fight against the devastating autoimmune disease.
Joining the ladies was Noah Alexander who was honored with the new Adam Selkowitz Outstanding Volunteer Award. All deserve kudos, along with event chairs Carrie Brillstein, Dorothy Ellis, and Marla Paxson. So much hard work goes into the fabulous event, yet seems like magic makes it happen every year.
Speaking of magic, a young lady I got to know when she was the magical star of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Melissa Joan Hart was on hand as a Lupus LA Ambassador. A former Woman of Achievement honoree, Melissa and I talked about how she has supported the cause for years, and she was there with her mom, producer Paula Hart, and Melissa & Joey costar Taylor Spreitler, actress Dahn Ballard, and good friend Kellie Martin (who stars in the most wonderful Hallmark Channel holiday film The Christmas Ornament). It was a joy to see them all and their concern for all the women affected by the disease. Lupus is on the rise and it’s a mystery that needs more research and awareness — that is what the event was all about. The fancy handbags were just an entertaining side dish.
The emcee was Louise Roe, the trendy host of NBC’s Fashion Star designer competition. Other celebrity attendees included Snoopzilla (aka Snoop Dog) who is a personal friend of Sharon Stone, and accepted an award on her behalf; also Nikki Reed (Twilight), Angie Everhart, Kathy Hilton, Eden Sassoon, Brittny Gastineau, Lisa Gastineau, Sandra Taylor, Meredith Monroe, Lesley Nicols, Kenny Doughty, Katrina Parker, Vanessa Branch, Jackie Cruz, and the Shahs of Sunset girls, who celebrated the handbags they “won” shopping at the Bag Ladies Luncheon.
The Friendly House Has Titan Sumner Redstone’s Support
It was impressive to see Viacom giant Sumner Redstone, one of the media industry’s most powerful magnates, show his support for the Friendly House which helps women recover from substance and alcohol abuse. Redstone made a brief appearance at the beginning of the 24th annual awards luncheon and fundraiser for Friendly House, serving as honorary co-chair with Viola Davis. A driving force for Friendly House, executive director Peggy Albrecht said, “It was huge to have Sumner here. I can’t thank him enough.” Actually there were more people to thank, with the Humanitarian Award going to Winn Claybaugh, author and Paul Mitchell Schools founder; the Excellence in Service Award to Earl Hightower; and philanthropist Sydney Holland named Woman of the Year. That’s a happy Thanksgiving for all.