Party of the Year: The 20th Annual InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish Ball

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On November - 21 - 2014

Diana RosBy: Dr. Mary Jo Almeida-Shore

Arguably the best party of the year, the 20th Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball, an elegant “Oz Reimagined”-themed gala, took place on Saturday, November 1, welcoming nearly 1,000 guests, who gathered to dine, dance and donate to one of the worthiest causes: the Make-A-Wish foundation. The highlight of the glamorous celebration, was a thrilling concert by the “Queen of Motown,” Diana Ross- the most outstanding performance we’ve seen at a party since Donna Summer performed at Destination Fashion in 2007 (this writer’s first official social column for The SunPost). Ross, dazzling in a red, bejeweled halter pantsuit, wrapped in red organza, entered the stage singing “I’m Coming Out” and had guests enthralled as she performed other chart-topping hits such as,”Baby Love,” “Upside Down,” “Do You Know,” “Stop-in the Name of and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” And while Ross’ performance was the crown jewel of the Ball, there was plenty of glittery goodness leading up to the concert. From the gold carpet, to the cocktail reception filled with culinary delights created by InterContinental Miami Executive Chef Alexander Feher, including seafood served on an ice bar shaped like the trees from OZ, to the premier items at the Ball’s silent auction, and special appearances by Dorothy and her crew, the Wicked Witch and Glenda and the “Voice of Oz” that summoned revelers to the Main Ballroom for dinner- the night was filled with the enchantment we’ve come to expect from the unparalleled Make A Wish Ball. Inside the Ballroom, guests were captivated by both the splendor of the room’s white-on-white decor and the beauty and wit of Gabrielle Anwar, who returned for the fourth consecutive year as Celebrity Emcee and Auctioneer. In what has become a Ball tradition, Gabrielle and fiancé,  Ball Chair, Shareef Malnik opened the night’s festivities with a creative dramatic moment. This year’s involved Gabrielle engaged in steamy dialogue with a faceless “Oz” – actually the voice of  Shareef — who eventually revealed himself, emerging from underneath the voluminous skirt of Gabrielle’s emerald green ball gown, eliciting a roar of laughter from the room and setting the stage for the more serious task of raising money for Wishes. A touching moment came courtesy of South Florida Wish recipient Nicole Graziano, who sang a touching rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” Guests had the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind luxury items throughout the live auction while enjoying a gourmet dinner. At 11:30 p.m., the legendary Diana Ross took the stage and it seemed as though life just could not possible get any better! Yet it did. The party got better and better as the night progressed. The dynamic Ball had an equally dynamic finale as this year’s edition of the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Nightclub — “Voyage des Papillions” – paid homage to the contemporary Disco movement with an extravagant couture runway show presented by Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour, featuring designers including Emilio Pucci, Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana and KAUFMAN FRANCO.

A hip, after-hours venue, the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Nightclub – chaired by Shareef Malnik, with Michael Capponi as Vice-Chair, and presented by InList, was held from 10:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. on the Mezzanine level of the InterContinental Miami. Co-produced by Maxwell Blandford and Clif Loftin, with creative execution by DECO Productions, the disco-infused runway show was styled by Arel Ramos for Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour, with hair by Danny Jelaca Salon and makeup by O.P Studio. Progressive beats were provided by DJ Michelle Leshem and producer Sean Drake. Mingling with guests on the “Gold Carpet” were the Ball’s “Three Amigos” — Shareef Malnik, Gala Chairman and proprietor of The Forge Restaurant l Wine Bar; Robert Hill, Gala Host and the InterContinental Miami General Manager; and Norman Wedderburn, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida. Special guests included Gabrielle Anwar; director Brett Ratner; Scottie and Larsa Pippen; Chris Leavitt of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing Miami; Wayne Newton; author/TV personality Jill Martin; Lee Brian Schrager; Kimye pastor, Rich Wilkerson Jr. and wife DawnCheré; Real Housewives of Miami cast member Marysol Patton; Richard Jay Alexander; Elaine Lancaster; Donald and Lisa Pliner; Casey and Timolin Cole; Harvey and Roberta Chaplin; Bob and Alysia Press; Stanley and Gala Cohen; Wayne and Arlene Chaplin; James L. Ferraro; Ken Gorin; Wayne and Cynthia Boich; Howard and Barbara Glicken; Fabian and Martina Basabe; Jeff Kamlet; Michael Capponi; Irene Korge; Kamal Hotachandani; Belkys Nerey; and Todd Linden, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Make-A-Wish Southern Florida. Co-Chairs of the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Nightclub were Maxwell Blandford, Sarah Bromley, Christine Corson, Nick D’Annunzio, Danny Estevez, Clif Loftin, Antonio Misuraca and Tara Solomon. The Nightclub 2014 Host Committee was comprised of: Oren Alexander; Peter T. Ancona; Crista Azqueta; Francisco Baixauli; Brooke Biederman; Olga Castano; Eduardo Castillo; Norma Cuarezma; Christopher Dischino; Andres Fanjul; Robert Fernandez; Louis Fonseca; Nicole Gomez; Alex Holland; Ashlee Holland; Iced So Nice; Gideon Kimbrell; Scott Kranz; Chris Lentz; Luigi Lone; Jessica Martinez; Margene Muñoz; Nicol Pindelez; Jacquelynn Powers; Mel Rivera; Jake Roberts; Jared Rosenstein; David Roth; Hope Ruslin; Ilmar Saar; Rich Santelises; Schwartz Media Strategies; Lisa Sharoni; Molly Shearer; Guigo Simoes; Jeff Soulouque; Brittany Starks; Cecily Suarez; Ricky Tamayo; and TARA, Ink. The gala raised a record $2.5 million in net revenue for Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

photo credit: Manny Hernandez

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