Inside Edmonton’s Fashion With Compassion gala: 38 photos of stylish people partying on and off the runway for a good cause

Fashion With Compassion 2012 Backstage
Photography by Emilia Thomas
Fashion With Compassion 2012 Backstage
Photography by Emilia Thomas

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Last week one of the biggest fashion fundraisers in Canada hit Edmonton’s Shaw Conference Centre with flutes of pink champagne and Old Hollywood panache. Luncheon and dinnertime gala fashion shows for more than 1,400 people at the 16th annual Syncrude Presents Fashion with Compassion benefit the $5-million expansion of the Sorrentino’s Compassion House, a home away from home for women traveling to Edmonton for breast cancer treatment.

While we think last year’s fashion highlight was watching superstar model Heather Marks (a Calgary native) open and close the shows, this year we can’t decide between all the cozy, grey velvet layering from Calgary-based designer Paul Hardy’s Fall 2012 collection, a lunchtime-only appearance from Mode Models Edmonton’s Kayley Chabot (I saw her last on the runway at Jill Stuart S/S ’13 during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week), or the uncensored and moving speech from former Compassion House guest and breast cancer survivor Brenda Kissel.

Early figures indicate $300,000 was raised at the ‘50s-themed event. Just like Sleepless in Seattle, the 2012 planning committee was inspired by the story (and wears) behind the 1957 film, An Affair to Remember, starring Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant, outfitting the room accordingly, with a walk-of-fame for the current Compassion House guests, a massive Hollywood sign upon arrival, white satin, feathers, and sparkle.

FASHION, an official sponsor this year, was backstage, at cocktail hour, and taking glamour shots at the end of the runway with an army of photographers.