A chilly fall day made for seriously stylish outfits earlier this month at the first-ever Fashion in the Fields. A Neiman Marcus runway show followed by a Southern-inspired brunch spread by Culinaire took place at Hope Farms, the seven-acre urban agricultural operation in Sunnyside that doubles as a community gathering place and a small-business incubation training ground for U.S. veterans to become urban "agripreneurs."
So the space's Gathering Barn was an especially fitting venue for the Veteran's Day event, where two of the farm's veteran trainees, Christopher Katthage and Jose Montemayor, modeled dapper Neiman Marcus outfits down the runway to enthusiastic applause.
The next set of models kept the crowd delighted. Local tots expertly modeled pint-sized fashions as emcee and Houston Life anchor Courtney Zavala announced their favorite foods, movies, and future dream jobs. Zavala's own son, Andrew, showed off a sherpa-trimmed leather jacket.
Grown-up professionals hit the runway next, modeling a mix of posh, casual fall looks. Fashionable audience members—more than 300 of them—came dressed to impress on the blustery day, too, warming up with Hope Farms' signature bloody marys and fruity mimosas. The prevailing theme was "farm girl cold weather chic," quipped Gracie Cavnar, Recipe for Success founder and CEO.
All told, the afternoon raised over $200,000 for Cavnar's foundation, established in 2005 to combat childhood obesity through education and community involvement, changing the way kids understand, appreciate, and eat their food. Stephanie Fleck and Melissa Sugulas, both Recipe for Success executive board members, co-chaired the inaugural event.
Aside from a lavish brunch (starring buttermilk fried chicken, creole crawfish, white cheddar grits, and more) and Neiman's "Art of Fashion" presentation, guests also enjoyed live music, farm walkabouts, a raffle, and a pop-up shop. Cavnar and her husband, Bob, also honored Chef Kevin Naderi of Roost as "Chef of the Year" for his support of Recipe for Success, including more than a decade of volunteer work in and out of the classroom and kitchen.