Fashionollia, the Art of Giving

Published March 23, 2007

Pierce Brosnan's stunt double David Lyons had planned to rappel off Mark and Christel Yaffe's roof, smack into Mingle with the Stars, a cocktail party benefit for Sydney's School for Autism.

But as large as the Avila mansion is (about 31,000 square feet), it wasn't high enough for a James Bond entry. Instead, Lyons helped auction a collage of autographed photos of every Agent 007. It sold for $2,800 to Denise and Lance Tchor.

The March 10 party was the second benefit the Yaffes hosted for their good friend, Kathy Swenson, who named the South Tampa school for daughter Sydney, 9.

Currently, it serves eight autistic children and 16 other children, ages 3 to 10. Proceeds from the auction, which included six VIP grandstand seats in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, will help add a grade level next year.

Stars spotted mingling with the 250 guests: Fred McGriff, Tony Mayberry, Daren Puppa, Dale Eggeling, Hopalong Cassidy, Tom Redmond and Tommy Phelps. Many returned to Avila for a golf tournament to benefit the school the next day.

Friday: GreenFest kickoff luncheon benefits Friends of Plant Park; 10 a.m.; A La Carte Pavilion; $60; 254-0562.

Saturday: Black and White Ball, 14th annual Stepping Out Gala benefits St. Joseph's Hospitals Foundation; 6:30 p.m.; Hyatt Regency Tampa; $250; 872-0979.

Saturday: Baseball for Kids annual dinner benefits All Children's Hospital and Major League Baseball Players Alumni; 6:30 p.m.; A La Carte Pavilion; $225; (727) 767-8422.

Tuesday: Girl Scouts of Suncoast Council's Women of Distinction luncheon; noon; A La Carte Event Pavilion; $60; 262-1759.

Tuesday: Fourth annual "Fashion Funds the Cure," benefiting the Pediatric Cancer Foundation; $75; 6 p.m.; Saks Fifth Avenue; 269-0955.

March 30: Heart To Heart Ministries banquet; 7 p.m.; Lake Magdalene United Methodist Church, benefits Haitian refugees in the Dominican Republic; $25; 961-1254.

March 30: Tampa East Sertoma Club Las Vegas Night; 6 p.m.; Busch Gardens Comfort Inn, benefits local charities; 909-1659.

March 31: Mad Hatter's Ball benefits Florida Blood Services; A La Carte Pavilion; 6:30 p.m.; (727) 568-2231.

April 19: Tampa Palms Women's Club fifth annual Spring Fashion Show and Luncheon, benefits OASIS; 10:30 a.m.; Tampa Palms Golf and Country Club; $22; (813) 971-8063.

A giant wooden picture frame on the runway helped guests visualize the Art of Giving at Fashionollia, the 59th annual Tampa Woman's Club's luncheon.

Co-chairs Pat Kasum of Wesley Chapel and Joann Guagliardo saw the theme come to life as each model emerged through the frame.

Doug Williams, son of member Kathleen Hudson, built the frame; her husband, Walter, donated the lighting for the March 10 benefit at the Renaissance Hotel at International Plaza.

Spring fashions came from Brooks Brothers, Cache Luxe, Chico's and Strasbourg Children's Wear, worn by models who included Tampa Bay Buc Michael Clayton and his wife, Tina; dentists William Robinson and John Redd II, and that svelte City Times reporter, Rick "Twinkle Toes" Gershman.

This year, Fashionollia funds go to American Cancer Society's Making Dreams Come True scholarships to help students who have survived cancer.

One of those recipients, Tampa police officer John Manning, came to say "Thanks." When president Laura Lang asked for extra donations, 37 guests signed a mirror to "reflect" their $100 checks.

305 Circle

Centre for Women board member Lauren Schellman welcomed supporters to the home of her parents, Melanie and Richard Gonzmart, for a sunset "we-appreciate-you" get-together March 8.

Columbia restaurant made the seafood paella, shrimp cocktail and sushi for 100 donors and prospects.

LaSalle Bank, represented by Dan Borasch and Centre board member Kim Bruce, sponsored the party and offered to match the first $5,000 raised.

In Carrollwood, the first female krewe - Ye Loyal Krewe of Grace O'Malley - marked 15 years of partying with pirates and other assorted Gasparilla revelers with the installation of their O'Malley XV, Joni Cusimano.

Dignitaries from 25 krewes, including Argus from New Orleans, watched as retiring O'Malley Karen Wells passed the scepter March 3 at the India Cultural Center.

Longtime member Janice Long donned white gloves to operate the elevator. Ball chairwoman and O'Malley-elect Pat Heid got her hubby, Greg, to emcee but then he nearly forgot to present her.

Doug Vance, president of the Gauchos, known for his creative entrance, danced in, of course.

Gifts were pretty cool, as was the martini ice sculpture fountain. Guests received a bottle of O'Malley wine made and bottled by krewe members at Wine Aspirations on Fowler Avenue.