An evening of high fashion and fund-raising

Fashion model Sessilee Lopez will be honored Friday during a benefit for the local nonprofit Evoluer House.
Fashion model Sessilee Lopez will be honored Friday during a benefit for the local nonprofit Evoluer House. (MARC BAPTISTE)
Posted: December 13, 2013

Former Victoria's Secret model and Marc Jacob runway regular Sessilee Lopez will receive a trailblazer award Friday evening as a part of a fashion-focused fund-raiser.

Evoluer House, a 10-year-old nonprofit that teaches etiquette and work/life skills to tweens and teens, will host J'adore La Mode at the University of the Arts.

In addition to shining the spotlight on the Philly-born-and-bred Lopez, one of the most recognized supermodels in the world, the evening's festivities will include a fashion show featuring the womenswear collection of celebrity stylist Kithe Brewster.

Brewster is well-known among fashion insiders for dressing red-carpet regulars Beyoncé, Halle Berry, and Julianne Moore. He's also credited for transforming Philly-born Eve from a "pit bull in a skirt" into a haute fashionista. In addition to designing, Brewster is fashion director of the glossy women's wellness quarterly New You.

Friday night, Brewster will present 34 looks from his spring 2014 collection, "And Then There Were Birds," an ethereal grouping of floaty dresses.

Also on the night's star-studded roster is a performance choreographed by Philadelphian Anthony Burrell. Sarah Dash, one of Patti LaBelle's Bluebelles, will serve as honorary chairwoman of the night's silent auction.

Over the years, Evoluer House has been instrumental in teaching more than 800 girls - many from underserved communities - vital life skills, from how to balance a checkbook or make a shopping list to how to dress for job interviews.

Graduates include Tuku Gaye, a finalist on BET's gospel reality show Sunday Best, and Deja Brown, who won second place last year in a playwright competition sponsored by the University of the Arts.

Cheryl Ann Wadlington, the organization's executive director, said she wanted Evoluer House to be a haven for girls as they develop into women.

"There is an urgent need to empower girls right now - especially in Philadelphia - to help break the cycle of poverty," Wadlington said.

In September, Wadlington sent three Evoluer girls to work backstage at Brewster's spring 2014 show in New York.

"I've seen the difference [this program makes] in the girls I've been close with," said Brewster, now serving on Evoluer's board of directors. "Those same three girls will be heading my dressing room . . . They will be handling everything Friday night."


Information: 215-592-8988 or www.evoluerhouse.org

ewellington@phillynews.com

215-854-2704 @ewellingtonphl

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