Jumping over slushy puddles on my way into Lovells, I pout at the tired black Hunter boots that were a last minute decision—albeit the right one—on this improbable snowy spring day. The chairs of one of the season’s biggest fashion events—the Friends of Gorton Luxe Northshore on Saturday, April 20—will never know of my fabulous Manolos that are saved for such lunches.
First to arrive, wearing a crisp white shift, is the lovely Laura Wix. As President of the Friends of Gorton Board this year, her soft-spoken leadership has overseen a new direction for Gorton’s largest fundraiser.
Next is Jennifer McGregor, a relatively new member to the Friends of Gorton Board but no stranger to the community center’s importance. Having grown up in Lake Forest, there’s no other place she can imagine living to raise her own family. Dressed in black from head to toe, it’s no wonder that this stunning redhead, with clearly urban sensibilities, was tapped to co-chair the Luxe event.
We are the first table to be seated for lunch on this gray Thursday, passing a roaring fire at the center of the restaurant.
Tucked in a corner, we mulled over the menu’s salad choices until Tina Ballis arrived. Outfitted in deep plums and purples and a very sleek, slick-backed hairstyle, our meeting started when Tina took her seat. “So how excited are you about Luxe Northshore?” she asks.
From the get go, it’s clear there’s a new energy about the Friends of Gorton’s signature spring event. “We’ve enjoyed real success over the last few years with Fashion Forward, but this year we want to focus on a new experience for all of our guests,” explains Jennifer, pointing out the thoughtful change in the name of the occasion to Luxe Northshore. “While fashion will still be a cornerstone of our event this year, it allows us to entertain other ideas for the future.”
Rene Romero Schuler’s artistry set the tone for the evening’s independent spirit. Lending her talent to Luxe Northshore’s invitation, her work will also be on display in a gallery-like atmosphere at Lake Forest Sportscars the evening of the event.
For the first time, Northbrook Court’s Neiman Marcus will oversee the fashion show. “We’ll have an elevated runway, music, beautiful lighting, seating for all, and professional models,” Jennifer says. The show will focus on spring’s hottest fashion trends.
Laura, Jennifer, and Tina want guests to know that Luxe Northshore will still have a local flair. “We’ll have food stations, a tasting format, from all of our local favorites—Inovasi, Royce, Lovells, Authentico, and Bent Fork,” Tina says. In addition to the live auction and paddle raiser, Luxe Northshore will have a virtual car race, tying back nicely to the venue that has long supported the Friends of Gorton, Lake Forest Sportscars.
“There is something for everyone to get excited about this year,” Laura says. “Gorton is doing really well—all of its office space is rented and its ability to attract the arts is at a level we haven’t seen in some time. But to secure Gorton’s legacy, and maintain this momentum, we need the community to come out and support us.”
Doors will open for Luxe Northshore at 7 p.m. on Saturday April 20, at Lake Forest Sportscars. The fashion show and live auction will begin at 9 p.m. with dancing until 11 p.m. To purchase tickets to Luxe Northshore, visit gortoncenter.org.
-Ann Marie Scheidler