On the Town with HughE Dillon

Please Touch Museum hosts a ball! Plus the Fashion Design Competition; a murder mystery on Rittenhouse Square; and Bradley Cooper's dog about town

Last week I attended The Third Annual Red Carpet Scholarship Fashion Design Competition, presented by the Fashion Group of Philadelphia Educational Foundation at The Chestnut Club. The competition pits top design students from six schools in the area against each other. The Chestnut Club is one of the newest event venues in the city housed in one of the oldest theaters in Philadelphia, the former Arcadia Theater, which still retains its beautiful ornate ceiling and charm.

Students from Albright College (winner Rachel Garren), The Art Institute of Philadelphia (Keith Wiggins), The University of Delaware (Lisett Ffolkes), Drexel University (Anthony P. Noce III), Moore College of Art & Design (Dominique Streater), and Philadelphia University (Jillian Garvey) competed before a panel of judges. The judges included Cliff Boone, design director, Evening for Adrianna Papell, New York City, Nicole A. Cashman, president and CEO of Cashman & Associates, Sarah Schaffer, magazine editor, Joan Shepp, president of her eponymous Walnut Street store, Sarah Van Aken, CEO and designer of SAVA, a boutique at 1700 Sansom, and Susanna P. Whitehill, member of the F.G.I. board of directors and owner of Susanna’s Selections for Jewelry, Handbags and Accessories. Our host for the evening was Emmy Award-winning Linda Swain who hosts and produces “Moms on the Move.”

Anthony P. Noce III, and model and Drexel alum (2007) Brittany Ann Cormack made their way down the runway after it was announced that he won in the Drexel category. Anthony told me: “Winning the scholarship was an amazing experience because having professionals from the fashion industry, outside of the Drexel community, enjoy your work gives you an enormous feeling of accomplishment and makes you think that you are doing something right.”

Another landmark—the four-story Lippincott House on Rittenhouse Square—held a murder mystery dinner last Thursday. I covered the opening of the mansion as an event space/B&B about two years ago so I was very familiar with its charmed existence. Did you know they have a ghost? The original owner from the early 1900s still haunts the home today, but in a friendly way. She likes to leave the faucet on in her bathroom, the current owner of the house Mary Beth Hallman tells me. Unfortunately she didn’t make an appearance last Thursday while I attended the murder mystery, but I was entertained by Sherlock Holmes, dear Watson and their friends. I’ve always been a big fan of mysteries (my mom gave me a set of her father’s Hardy Boys Mysteries when I was a kid, and I have been hooked on them ever since). Also on hand to witness the crime was Maria Papadakis and Chris Arader, Victoria Wyeth, Lori Panossian, Brett Jones, Meredith Jones and Richard James, as well as Tara Nunin and Rich Martin.

Throughout the evening, a full open bar, hors d’oeuvres and a multi-course dinner, provided by Philadelphia’s b*smiths gourmet catering were served. At the end of the night, when chef Brendan Smith was cleaning up, neighbors came through the door because they “always wanted to see inside.” And with them was restaurateur Susanna Foo. As the neighbors spoke with the Lippincott owners, Marybeth Hallman and Jack Eldridge,  Brendan Smith showed Susanna Foo his AGA Stove, which for foodies I hear is very exciting.

On Saturday, the Please Touch Museum held their Storybook Ball. I love the Please Touch Museum and jump at the chance to cover as many events there as possible, not only because I’m a big kid at heart, but because of the joy and smiles the exhibits bring to all who walk through the doors. This year I brought my niece and nephew Kelsey and Dillon Goleash. We all had a ball, as did event co-chairs Hallee Adelman and Julie Savitch, and their kids.   The theme this year? Pirates and Princesses. Pictured above is the Elgamal family with dad Sharief and daughters Selma and Sarah dressed for the occasion.

Other highlights included a performance by the GESU School Ballroom Dancers, read-alouds in the Story Castle, costumed storybook characters around the museum, a children’s play, and chicken fingers, pizza, ice cream donated by Jack & Jill and more than 1,000 donated no-nuts (and some gluten-free) cupcakes by Nikki Rayfield. Yum.

Above, Debbie Maser and Elana enjoyed the carousel ride. Debbie told me that last Wednesday when she and Elana were out for their afternoon walk they came upon a dog that was tied up outside the Pad Thai House on 18th Street near Rittenhouse Square. As they approached the pooch a woman came out to check on the dog, and Debbie asked her if Elana could pet her. At first the woman hesitated and said she wasn’t the owner of the dog, and hadn’t known the dog a long time but said it was very friendly, and that she thought it would be alright. As time went on introductions were made and it turned out that the dog walker was Renee Zellweger, and the dog was Bradley Cooper’s dog Charlotte. Renee was coming back from visiting the set, picking up her lunch—maybe to eat in Rittenhouse Square, as she told Debbie it was one of the most beautiful spots she had ever seen and she goes there often. Renee also mentioned how much she really loved Philadelphia, and enjoyed taking in the sites.

Earlier this month famed jewelry designer John Wind, pictured showing Nina Tinari each of the charms on his charity bracelet, made a visit to JimmyStyle on East Passyunk for a shopping event and to celebrate the jewelry he designed and is selling to raise money to fight AIDS. Proceeds from the sales benefit The Mazzoni Center and Action AIDS. The jewelry is also sold at Joan Shepp and Scarlett Alley until Mother’s Day.

Speaking of Action AIDS, Thursday will be the 20th anniversary of its biggest fundraiser Dining out for Life, which started right here in Philly and is now done in 55 cities across the U.S. and Canada. Director of business development and communications at ActionAIDS Michael Byrne, who was at the John Wind event, tells me Ted Allen will be in town April 29th for the anniversary of Dining Out for Life. Allen, who rose to fame as the food expert on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” is currently a Food Network host and one of this year’s national DOFL spokespeople, along with actress Pam Grier (aka Foxy Brown). Allen will be dining with local dignitaries, including Mayor Nutter, at Stephen Starr’s Butcher & Singer. Check out Dining out for Life‘s website for participating restaurants as well as the promo commercial featuring Allen and Grier.

Thanks for reading me today, and for more about what’s going on around town and who was where check out my blog at www.PhillyChitChat.com or follow me on Twitter @iPhillyChitChat. I’ll be back Thursday with more On The Town with Hughe Dillon.