(Updated April 6) Stella McCartney's crusade against cancer was recognized this evening at benefit held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills, California. The black tie gala which honored Stella with the Courage Award helped raise $1.5 million for the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and their women's cancer research and treatment programs. Accepting the award, Stella startled the Hollywood crowd who thought she was going to use the occasion to protest the war in Iraq when she opened her remarks by saying:
"I want to talk about the war .... against cancer. I feel that losing my mother is a rude awakening to having to look after yourself and that's the only positive thing that can come from losing her."Founded in 1995, Cedars-Sinai Research for Women's Cancers is a fundraising support group of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, committed to winning the battle against women's cancers. At 31 years old, Stella is the youngest recipient of the Courage Award. Previous honorees include Elton John, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rita Wilson, Rosie O'Donnell, and Anne Douglas.
Rita Wilson, who co-chaired the event with her husband, Tom Hanks, described Stella saying:
"She may be young but she's accomplished. She's done the work. (She is) strong, confident and accomplished beyond her years (and has made) an impressive mark in the world of high fashion with her creative styles and distinctive humor.Ms. Wilson described the three-piece Stella McCartney creation she wore to the event (A narrow balck satin pantsuit and sheer top)saying, "It's very original, very fresh and there's always a bit of a vintage-inspired feel."
Stella was accompanied to the event by her fiancé, Alasdhair Willis. She wore a black strapless gown from her own collection. She did seem to have a bit of trouble with the gown's train. She smiled as she admitted, "I've never worn a train before.
The Regent Beverly Wilshire ballroom was dressed in petal-pink in her honor, with bouquets of sweet peas on each table and hundreds of fresh cherry blossoms gracing the walls. According to a Saks Fifth Avenue party planner:
"When you honor a designer, you want the room to reflect her aesthetic. She told us she wanted feminine, but not too girly."Stella also requested a meatless menu, but the party planner explained that when guests are paying $1000 for their dinner, they "expect more than just veggies", so Stella agreed that salmon could be served. However, Stella dined on vegetable strudel. The evening's entertainment was provided by singers Faith Hill and Natalie Cole.
During the festivities, Stella told the Los Angeles Times that receiving the Courage Award was a "slightly humbling" experience for her:
"I really fell like I'm accepting on behalf of the women with the real courage - the women with cancer. But if I can come to an event like this, maybe I can also encourage people to look after themselves."
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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