Absolutely nothing could dampen the spirits at the 3rd Annual Dogs and Divas luncheon to benefit the American Cancer Society on the grounds of the lovely Saratoga National Golf Club. Everyone left the rainy gloom outside as they stepped into the tent, which was bedecked with bright green and black and white polka dots to match the “Diva Extraordinaire” Michele Riggi, the hostess of the luncheon.
It was a full house inside the tent, and we spotted “Diva of Ceremonies” Benita Zahn with her pup Tiki in a beautiful THEIA dress from Saratoga Trunk, Beth Alexander, Frankie Flores, Rachel Uccellini, Meghan Del Prete from Reform Pilates, Phyllis Bynum, Bo Goliber from Fingerpaint, Julie Bonacio, Mary Gavin, Angela Beddoe, Janine Robinson, and Kevin Smith with his Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Crowley.
Before the runway show got underway guests got a chance to shop at little pop up boutiques from Pink Paddock, Saratoga Trunk featuring their new Gas Bijoux jewelry line, Encounter, Hatsational and more. There was also a well stocked silent auction table, the hottest item on that being the day at Palazzo Riggi with Michele filming her upcoming E! Reality Series. Photographer Heather Bohm Tallman had a photo booth set up to snap the photos of the fashionable guests and their dapper dogs.
We bumped into Margie Rotchford there with her beautiful daughter Tori, looking both fashionable and weather appropriate in a smashing Lilly Pulitzer pantsuit from the Pink Paddock and hot pink hat from Christine A. Moore. She took a style tip from her daughter, who recently attended the very wet Governers Ball in NYC and went with boots for the event, sporting a pair of hot pink patent leather Doc Martens!
Benita Zahn got on the runway to welcome guests wearing Kay Unger after a quick wardrobe change, and the always gracious Natalie Sillery took over as emcee as the fashion show got started. The music was pumping and the air was electric as the gorgeous models strutted their stuff all to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The Diva Extraordinaire Michele Riggi took to the stage with her entourage of pint sized pooches to much applause from the crowd and she worked that runway like a pro. Michele looked resplendent in her green and black ensemble from designer Jovani from Saratoga Trunk. Her dress was topped off with a custom made hat from local milliner Nancy Matt from Broadway shop Encounter and it made the perfect stylish statement. Amongst her adorable doggie brigade were Tippy, Rufio and Queenie, all rescue pups given a new “leash” on life, who were wearing custom designed dog collars from Wit’s End Boutique from designer Susan Lanci. Rescue dogs are something near and dear to the dog loving Michele, and we chatted with her about the importance of spaying and neutering your pets and adopting dogs from shelters.
Nikki Roche and her beautiful daughter Isabella walked the catwalk wearing fashions from the Pink Paddock and Christianne Smith was in a stunning THEIA dress with her cross dressing for the day pooch Tucker who was rocking a matching purple ensemble. Dr. Joy Lucas from Upstate Animal Medical Center looked perfect in her silver dress from Frivolous, Rebecca Beers carried pup Mona wearing a dress from Saratoga Trunk, and we also spotted Tammy Loya and Ann Marie Flores working it on the runway.
The elegant Ashley Kerker from the soon to be opened Jumper Bean Daycare was the last model in a long lavender dress with a beautiful jeweled choker which unexpectedly came undone mid-catwalk! Ashley was all grace though as she handled her doggie escort and her wardrobe malfunction with aplomb. Michele closed the show in fabulous style, once again wearing Jovani, this time in a gorgeous fuchsia with another knockout hat from Nancy Matt.
Post runway show we chatted with Michele, who was toting two tiny doggies, about this year’s event. “This is a wonderful cause, and it is the American Cancer Society’s 100th birthday this year and we are so honored to be here to support it today in our third year with Dogs and Divas.” Raising over $50,000, the event was definitely a success, and we were so impressed with the incredible turnout despite the nasty weather. We can’t wait to see what the Diva Extraordinaire has in store for next year’s Dogs and Divas!