Occasionally, a gesture or a simple idea becomes something so much bigger than intended. The lifestyle fashion brand Alice + Olivia and the Massachusetts charity, The Ellie Fund, have similar unintended origins. Their collaboration on the upcoming 5 For Ellie fashion show is a partnership made in part by the understanding of the impact one act can have.
The Ellie Fund, which supports women during their fight with breast cancer, began when two brothers, Jeff and Elliot Popkin, ran the Boston Marathon in memory of their mother, Ellie. The two men ran for Dana Farber after their mother lost her fight with breast cancer. Local media picked up on the brothers’ heartfelt run. Having witnessed how battling breast cancer impacts the patient, the men decided to create a fund to alleviate the everyday stress for people confronting the disease. In 1995, The Ellie Fund started collecting donations. 23 years later, The Ellie Fund has distributed 470 grants totaling over $350,000 in 2018 and anticipates serving over 800 patients and families by the end of the year.
Several years after The Ellie Fund officially began its mission, fashion-lover Stacey Bendet craved a pair of sexy pants. Being a resourceful girl and one who grew up in the textile industry, Stacey took her fashion needs into her own hands, altering a pair of jeans to show off her curves and lengthen her legs. Sexy pants achieved! The well-known boutique owner, Lisa Kline, noticed Stacey strolling down the streets of LA in her sexy jeans and ordered close to a dozen on the spot. Before she knew it, Stacey was founding Alice + Olivia.
From that humble start in 2002, Stacey, the CEO and Creative Director of the now mega-brand, oversees the fashion wheelhouse that spins seasonal styles based on inspiration from her travels.
Not only do the two organizations share a serendipitous start, but they also share a passion for helping others. Stacey wholeheartedly believes in paying back good fortune through philanthropy. That giving spirit is part of the premise of the Ellie Fund.
How did a non-profit and fashion brand join hands sauntering down the runway to raise money for breast cancer patients? Alice + Olivia opened a store on Newbury Street in 2016. We talked to the stylish dame who not only opened that storefront but is the General Manager, Christy Neves.
Christy is both adorable and chic. She also has a kind heart and understands how cancer (of all sorts) eventually affects all of our lives. Reducing the emotional stress cancer causes is a cause anyone can get behind. With Alice + Olivia placing a high importance on helping the community, this fashion and philanthropy partnership was a no-brainer for Christy and the brand. In 2017, Alice + Olivia dressed the newswomen of WCVB Channel 5 for the annual fashion show to benefit The Ellie Fund, 5 for Ellie.
Seeing the meaning the event had on the community, Christy and Alice + Oliva are back for another night of showing off spring and summer fashions all in the name of supporting women fighting breast cancer. It’s just one night, but it can have such a significant impact.
What will you see this year on the runway? Stacey Bendet’s travels influence her creative decisions. This spring, Alice + Oliva busted through the doors of the Hotel Chelsea for inspiration. The historic landmark has been a resting place for such icons as Mark Twain, Jane Fonda, Uma Thurman, Jim Morrison, and Madonna. (Those names barely fill one page of the historic guest book, which is an inch thick.)
Stacey has interpreted the Hotel Chelsea in a few different waves. That first wave comes to shore with a blooming bouquet of luscious blush tones. Next, comes a rock and roll rebellion of bright coral. Juxtaposing prints from soft florals to snakeskin mirror the variety of artists who have hung their hats at the Hotel Chelsea.
Tonal dressing also becomes prevalent in the spring season. The palm, an icon art print, mirrors the artistic inventions that came out of the Hotel Chelsea. Burnout velvet prints, which always feel so light and luxurious are also a major part of any Alice + Olivia collection. And then there are of course those sexy pants…
Alice + Olivia doesn’t confine their generosity just to fashion shows. We learned from Christy that anyone can host a shopping event at the store where 20% of the proceeds will go to the charity of your course. With this in-style event, the hostess also gets an outfit valued at $495.00. Cool incentive if you ask us.
The Newbury Street store also offers personal shoppers, as well as a made-to-order service. The company will ship you several outfits and you simply return what doesn’t float your boat and keep the rest. That makes your next vacation a lot easier!
When I chatted with Christy, I also had the opportunity to try on a few outfits and play dress-up. Strutting around in such lively clothes may have made my year. But, what would really make my year, and in some cases, the lifetime of other women is if some of you who are reading this would buy a ticket to the 5 for Ellie fashion show.
If you can’t buy a ticket, consider making a donation. If everyone who reads this article donated $25.00, we’d have fewer women who have to worry about how they are going to feed their family and can instead enjoy their family’s company. Now that is a simple gesture that goes a long way!
To donate to The Ellie Fund, please click here.
To attend the 5 for Ellie Fashion Show, please click here.
Before a quick preview of some of the spring fashions, a huge thanks to this Haute Mama, Melissa Lena for understanding the importance of taking photos from a flattering angle. 😉
Wait! Don’t forget to buy your tickets!