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Avant Garde redefines fundraising events

Guests were treated to a surprise fashion show featuring Bowie Wong designs.

Now in it’s 15th year, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation’s annual charity event was taken to new heights this year, complete with celebrity collaborations, a surprise fashion show and over 700 guests in attendance.

Event management company This Space partnered with the foundation to innovate the charity dinner, which took place on 15 September at the Royal Hall of Industries in Sydney.

This Space managing director Julia Barnard says the goal for the event, named Avant Garde, was to take it beyond a typical fundraising activation.

“We were approached by Cure Brain Cancer Foundation just over 12 months ago now, and they really wanted to shake things up and disrupt the space,” she says.

Every detail was considered for Avant Garde.

“They wanted to create a new concept that could be enhanced year-on-year, so it wasn’t just their annual ball, but something that could really gain traction and a following to draw more light to their cause.”

Cure Brain Cancer is the leading organisation for brain cancer research in Australia and draws on global alliances to work towards a cure for brain cancer, which kills more children than any other disease in Australia and more people under 40 in Australia than any other cancer.

“They’re very forward-thinking, so from that we derived Avant Garde, which represents forward thinkers in any industry,” says Barnard.

From there it was all systems go for This Space, collaborating with forward-thinkers to achieve a knock-out event.

Over 700 guests attended the annual fundraising event.

This Space approached chef Christine Manfield to develop the menu, which was geared towards shedding light on brain health through food.

“On the night we did a live cross to the kitchen where Christine was talking about brain health and how people will see that through the entree, main and dessert,” says Barnard.

Next, the team partnered with fashion designer Bowie Wong to create an awe-inspiring fashion show on the night. “He felt very connected to the foundation…he wanted to see how he could use his skills to advance awareness,” says Barnard.

This Space worked with Norwest Group to design a runway that came down from the ceiling for the fashion show.

The runway was hidden in the roof and was lowered for the fashion parade.”

“The concept of having the runway hidden in the ceiling was an Avant Garde installation which Emma, our senior stylist, designed,” says Barnard. “Everyone that came in thought it was a beautiful art installation up in the roof.

“We had giant, white bell lights and the stage on motors which dropped down from the ceiling, rested on the stage and then the fashion show commenced with the models immediately walking onto stage. As you can image, it was incredibly well-rehearsed and choreographed.”

Later, musician Megan Washington performed for guests, before singer, actor and Cure Brian Cancer ambassador Johnny Ruffo took to the stage. Ruffo, who is currently going through treatment for brain cancer, inspired guests by performing a high-energy set with his band.

Cure Brain Cancer Foundation ambassador Johnny Ruffo performed for guests.

This Space also developed a range of opportunities for people to engage with the charity and donate money in different ways.

Jewellery designer Tessarella House created a bespoke pin for guests to purchase, which was made with Swarovski crystals and in the shape of a crane, reflecting Cure Brain Cancer’s logo.

Preparation has already begun for next year’s event.

Guests could also donate $25 at the Avant Garde-Me area to have their makeup done, with all proceeds donated to the foundation. A Veuve Clicquot bar was also on offer, where guests could purchase a bottle of Champagne for their table.

Following the success of the event, This Space have already started planning for next year’s Cure Brain Cancer Foundation charity ball.

So, watch This Space.

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