4th Annual Splendor in the Garden
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Celebrates Fashion and Philanthropy
Co-Chairs Swanee DiMare & Frances Sevilla-Sacasa

Model in orange dress

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and Neiman Marcus Coral Gables partnered to host the fourth annual Splendor in the Garden fashion show fundraiser. The new spring clothing collections and the colors of the tropical garden complemented each other exquisitely for a day of fashion and philanthropy attended by more than 350 guests.

After a lovely cocktail reception and lunch by Le Basque, Nannette Zapata, Chief Operating Officer of Fairchild, welcomed visitors to the event. She spoke about how fundraising events like Splendor in the Garden are able to further Fairchild’s scientific and cultural advancements and extended gratitude to the supporters in the audience. Co-Chairs Swanee DiMare and Frances Sevilla-Sacasa took the stage to talk about the importance of the tireless work and community enrichment made by the 2015 Fairchild Philanthropy Honorees, who would be named and recognized after the fashion show.

Stephen Brunelle, VP and General Manager of Neiman Marcus Coral Gables, thanked the audience for attending and said they were in for a treat with the fashion show. He introduced Ken Downing, Senior VP and Fashion Director of Neiman Marcus, and without further ado, Ken walked down the runway to present his favorite Spring 2015 looks for men and women.

The first collection featured a 70s comeback with bold, flowing prints as models took to the runway with fun feathers arrangements in their hair. The second collection celebrated the architectural moment fashion is having with tailored and fitted black and white garments. Varied shades of white paired with statement jewelry were the focal points of the third collection.

After the runway show, emcee Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard, Miami Herald columnist and philanthropist, invited the 2015 Fairchild Philanthropy Honorees to the stage. Ken walked each woman down the runway as their long lists of accomplishments were read. This year’s Honorees were:
  • Raphael Bastian, Board Member of the Lowe Art Museum and Fairchild Gala in the Garden Committee Member
  • Yolanda Berkowitz, Voices for Children Foundation and United Way of Miami-Dade
  • Donna E. Shalala, President of the University of Miami and Professor of Political Science
  • Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade State Attorney
  • Jennifer Valoppi, Founder and President of the Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program

    After the recognition of the incredible work of the Honorees, guests were invited to the Backstage Boutique to browse garments available for purchase. Comfortable flip flops were handed out so everyone could enjoy a walk through the lush garden.

    Splendor in the Garden was sponsored by Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables & Cutler Bay, Marquis Bank, the Batchelor Foundation, Peony, and Selecta magazine.

    To learn more about Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, call 305-667-1651 or visit www.fairchildgarden.org.

  • Yolanda Berkowitz, Raphael Bastian, Donna Shalala, Swanee DiMare, Jennifer Valoppi, Frances Savilla-Sacasa

    Honoree Donna Shalala & Ken Downing

    Stephen Brunelle, Neiman Marcus Coral Gables VP & General Manager

    Model in black and white dress

    Walla Wallas by Dale Chihuly in Pandanus Lake

    Backstage Boutique

    Susannah Shubin & Honoree Jennifer Valoppi

    Mercedes-Benz Sponsorship Table

    Frances Sevilla-Sacasa and Swanee DiMare address the crowd

    Model in white dress

    Model in striped dress

    Guests in the Lakeside Marquee

    Model in menswear collection

    Ken Downing with Co-Chairs and Philanthropy Honorees

    Honoree Yolanda Berkowitz & Ken Downing

    Model in polka dot dress

    Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard & Yolanda Berkowitz

    Ken Downing on runway in front of crowd

    Lunch by Le Basque

    Miami Crooner

    Katherine Fernandez Rundle & Swanee DiMare

    Honoree Raphael Bastian & Ken Downing

    Models walking down runway

    Nora Bulnes, Selecta Magazine Media Sponsor, & Silvia Trinidad

    Model in floral print dress

    Honoree Jennifer Valoppi & Ken Downing

    Guests at the cocktail reception

    Model in black dress

    Model in white and gold dress

    Table decorations

    Models take final walk down the runway