Couture & Cocktails for a Cause

Some people dream of dancing. Others simply dance. And on one fall night for the last five years, anyone’s dream of becoming a dancer can come true.

The Women’s Board of the Joffrey Ballet presents the Fifth Annual Couture & Cocktails on Friday, September 24 at the W City Center (172 West Adams, Chicago). Co-chaired this year by Marci Holzer and Kristina McGrath, the must-attend fall event will feature internationally known designer Carmen Marc Valvo in a dramatic fashion show, along with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a silent and live auction, and an evening of dancing alongside Joffrey Ballet company members. This event will launch The Joffrey Ballet’s 2010-2011 season.

“My favorite part of the evening is watching our guests dance with the professional dancers,” says Holzer, a founding member of the Women’s Board. “This event is not a gala or a sit-down dinner. It’s a dance. Dance is so euphoric. It’s such a high.”

Co-chair McGrath agrees: “The Joffrey is so special to me. The dedication and commitment that our Joffrey Dancers have to their profession is inspirational. Every thriving city needs the performing arts. It’s crucial and honorable to showcase our special Joffrey dancers.”

But if dance isn’t your thing, there’s always the fashion.

“We’re showcasing two collections for the Joffrey,” says Valvo, a New York-based designer who has stood the test of time, having launched his eponymous label in 1989. “The fall collection was inspired by the film Lust Caution by Ang Lee. It’s all about seduction and intrigue with a little Casablanca and Bergman thrown into the mix. We’re also including some key looks from the resort collection that are light and full of beautiful organza pieces with delicate embroideries and layers of chiffon.”

Does Valvo have a favorite? Watch for the “simple black crepe strapless gown with ivory organza floret and an ivory gown with black edging,” he says.

Valvo’s appearance at The Joffrey is on the heels of New York’s famous Fashion Week. “This time of the year is full of mixed emotions like excitement and fear. It’s a rollercoaster, one day it’s good, and the next it’s bad, but I try to keep in mind that it always works out in the end,” Valvo adds.

Holzer and McGrath can imagine no other than Valvo as the featured designer at this year’s Couture & Cocktails. “I don’t tend to look at labels. I buy what I like,” says Holzer. “But when I started to look at the dresses I’ve worn for important occasions in my life, they were all Carmen Marc Valvo,” she adds, noting that she hopes to wear one of her mother’s vintage Valvo dresses.

For more information regarding ticket or donation inquiries, please contact Julia Jankowski Doherty, Events Coordinator, at 312-386-8921 or email

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