What do you get when you play host to 38 accomplished Women of Substance and Style honorees, five decades of fashion in retrospect, and one international music sensation? An unforgettable night raising millions for a good cause in true high-style.

On March 5th, 2016, Destination Fashion descended upon the Shops at Bal Harbour to mark the culmination of The Buoniconti Fund’s 30 decorated years championing spinal cord injury research. More than 2,500 celebrities, business magnates, and tastemakers came together to celebrate The Miami Project’s legacy and contribute to its enduring pursuit of the cure for paralysis.

“Each year we are amazed by the support we receive from our many friends from around the globe, and this year was like no other evening,” said NFL Hall of Famer and Miami Project Founder, Nick Buoniconti.

Destination Fashion 2016 to Benefit the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis

The event kicked off with a multi-course alfresco dining experience, accompanied by a “Too Good to Keep Silent” auction, with luxuries from fine jewelry to exclusive getaways donated by many of the Bal Harbour Shops’ own, including Chopard, Tiffany & Co., Ferragamo, Harry Winston and Goyard, among others, up for bids. Dusk quickly dawned as the awards ceremony honoring Paul and Swanee DiMare with the Presenting Sponsor Award, Stanley Whitman, Randy Whitman and Matthew Whitman Lazenby the Humanitarian Award, Micky and Madeleine Arison the Christine E. Lynn Champion for A Cure Award, Emilio and Gloria Estefan the Outstanding Philanthropists Awardand Edie Laquer the Miami Project Spirit of Giving Award took center stage. International philanthropists, Christine E. Lynn and Lois B. Pope, longtime benefactors of the Fund, also received recognition for their ongoing patronage and charitable contributions.

Destination Fashion 2016 to Benefit the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis

Among the Women of Substance and Style recipients were Susan Abraham, Pennie Abramson, Gabrielle Anwar, Kelly Arison, Tracey Berkowitz, Cynthia Boich, Mercedes Carlson, Jordan Claure, Orianne Collins, Linda Corey, Kristin Ducote, Bobi Eroncig, Lian Fanjul de Azqueta, Ana de Figueroa Cisneros, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Shelley Golden, Melinda Gonzalez, Becky Haggard McCarron, Teresa Haskett, Amy Hollub, Wendy Holman, Kinga Lampert, Kristin Lazenby, Lisa Leslie, Sandra Levy, Marile Lopez, Jayne Malfitano, Christina Martin, Ashley Moore, Suzanne Murphy, Nan O’Leary, Laura Posada, Melissa Posner, Barbara Reese, Laura Roberts, Kathy Simkins, Lydia Touzet, and Gigi Whitman, each of whom were escorted by celebrity presenters including golf legend Jack Nicklaus, Las Vegas entertainer Wayne Newton, Grammy Award winners Emilio Estefan, Barry Gibb, and Phil Collins, Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres, musician Jon Secada, NBA Hall of Famers Alonzo Mourning and Dave Cowens, MLB Hall of Famers Tony Perez and Mike Piazza, retired baseball stars Andre Dawson and World Series champions Jorge Posada and Scott Erickson, former professional football stars Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, Dick Anderson, Harry Carson, Brian Kelley, Mark Rypien, Jed Weaver, Brett Romberg, Randal Hill and Nat Moore, Olympic gold medalist Bob Beamon, polo star Brandon Phillips, current and former basketball stars Beno Udrih, Justise Winslow, Shane Battier, Greg Anthony and Steve Smith, tennis star Martina Navratilova, race car driver and Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran, actors Colin Egglesfield, Aiden Turner, Charlie Weber and Parker Young, and artist Romero Britto.

In collaboration with Neiman Marcus, guests were then treated to a preview of Italian fashion house Brunello Cucinelli’s Spring 2016 collection following the presentation, as models strutted the runway donning the season’s latest trends. After the showcase, guests made their way through the open-air promenade as they time-traveled through a nostalgic tribute to the definitive pop culture of the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s. The grand finale came when Miami’s own “Mr. 305” – now known as “Mr. Worldwide”- Pitbull, took to the mic as the synchronized light show painted the midnight sky electrifying hues of blue and purple amidst Miami’s palm tree-laden backdrop.

The event, coinciding with Bal Harbour’s own 50th anniversary, marks the only occasion the shops are closed to the public to house the private, star-studded affair. Proceeds from Destination Fashion 2016 will directly benefit The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, the fundraising arm of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, to sustain advances in the field.

Destination Fashion 2016 to Benefit the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis

Distinguished benefactors include Edie Laquer and The Laquer Foundation, Bal Harbour Shops, Barton G., and The Collection, Bal Harbour Village, Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation, Carnival Corporation & plc and Carnival Corporation, Ana and Tony Figueroa Cisneros, Mark Dalton, Samuel J. and Connie M. Frankino Foundation, Richard Gray, Kandy Kramer, Iris and Michael Smith, Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation, Residences by Armani/Casa, Anthony Abraham Foundation, Gary and Pennie Abramson, Lisa and Jeff Akin, Pearl Baker Katz, Bunny Bastian, Cynthia and Wayne Boich & Melissa and Sean Posner, Irma and Norman Braman, Andi and Chuck Edelstein & Chanin and Adam Carlin, City National Bank, Phil and Orianne Collins and The Little Dreams Foundation,  The Fairholme Foundation, The Ferraro Law Firm, Teresita and Michael Haskett, The Holman Family Foundation, Gretchen and Jay Jordan, The Kathleen Kennedy Fund of the Ethel and W. George Kennedy Foundation, Lauren’s Kids, Marile & Jorge Luis Lopez, Esq., Christine E. Lynn, The Miami HEAT Charitable Fund, Stuart Miller, Lennar Corporation, Victoria Ranger Nuñez and Michael Nuñez, Oceana Bal Harbour, Perry Ellis International, Laura and Jeff Roberts, Barbara Sherman, Laura and Irwin Tauber, Valerio Toyos, MDPA, Aventura Worldwide Transportation, Acqualina Resort & Spa, Franklin Dodd Communications, Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour, 1 Hotel South Beach, Ocean Drive Magazine, Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, Ritz Carlton South Beach, Selecta Magazine, Sole Farms, Southern Wine & Spirits, The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, Tiffany & Co, and Y100.

Honorary Co-Chairs who played an integral part in the benefit’s success include Grammy Award winners Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Academy Award Winner Tommy Lee Jones and wife Dawn Jones, and Golden Globe Winner Christian Slater and wife Brittany Slater, who joined Guest Emcee Savannah Guthrie of NBC News’ Today Show. Event chairs were Nick Buoniconti, Marc Buoniconti, Dr. Barth Green, Gretchen Jordan, Suzie Sayfie and Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard.

For more information about The Buoniconti Fund, please visit www.thebuonicontifund.com.

About The Buoniconti Fund and The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis: The brainchild of Dr. Barth A. Green, M.D. and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis was founded in 1985 after Nick’s son, Marc, suffered a devastating spinal cord injury during a college football game. Intent on discovering a cure, The Miami Project boasts the intellectual capital of over 300 internationally-renowned scientists, scholars, and clinicians who are committed to finding innovative approaches to address the challenges brought on by the brain and spinal cord injuries. Fast-forward 30+ years, the foundation has been recognized as pioneers in the field, evolving into the world’s most comprehensive spinal cord injury (SCI) research center, and a designated Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Serving as the crutch to helping millions worldwide walk again, the Buoniconti family established The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis in 1992, a non-profit organization devoted to assisting The Miami Project achieve its national and international goals.

Photo by Mitchell Zachs/Invision for the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis/AP Images

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