Courtesy International Hospital for Children
Last week was a whirlwind for designer Sophie Théallet. On Friday night, her designs graced the catwalk at the International Hospital for Children’s annual auction at Coplon’s, a women's clothing boutique in Richmond. Four days later, she collected the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award in NYC and a $200,000 award to help develop her business.
Born in Bagnéres de Bigorre, France, a small coastal town, Théallet studied at the prestigious Studio Bercot in Paris, then worked for Jean-Paul Gaultier and Azzedine Alaïa before launching her own line with makeup artist Francois Nars. They named the resort collection Motu Tane, after Nars’ private Tahitian island.
“My first connection was Motu Tane,” says Hank Greenberg, of Coplon’s, one of the sponsors for the Treasures in Paradise auction. Greenberg had to place his first Motu Tane order from photographs and fabric swatches because all of the clothes were out for editorial photo shoots. “I went to see her line this year for spring and knew I wanted hers to be the collection for the show. If you’re going to Costa Careyes in Mexico to a chic cocktail party, this is what you would wear.” (If you attend the IHC’s event next November, you can bid on three nights in a four-bedroom fully staffed mountaintop villa in Costa Careyes.)
“Hank seems to do it every year—picks these designers right as they reach the top,” says Susan Rickman, president of the IHC, reached on November 20 in St. Vincent. She is there with a group of orthopedic surgeons volunteering their time to provide critical medical care to children who would not have had access to it otherwise.
“It is easy to cross the worlds of high fashion and working with developing countries with a designer like Sophie who really wants to be part of the cause,” says Rickman. “She said, ‘I love your organization, and I love what you are doing,’ and she doesn’t want her involvement to stop with the show. Sophie is a big talent with a really big heart.”
The Richmond-based International Hospital for Children uses the funds raised by their annual Treasures in Paradise auction and fashion show to send teams of volunteer pediatric specialists to countries in Central America and the Eastern Caribbean region, where an estimated 100,000 children are in need of medical care. Children in need of the most serious critical care are brought back to IHC’s partner hospitals in Richmond. This year’s event raised an astonishing $500,000-plus.
For more information, visit the IHC website, HealAChild.org, which features some moving and beautiful photography of children and their healers by Virginia Living’s own Ariel Skelley, a devoted IHC donor and supporter.