The inspiration for Joseph Cozza Salon’s inaugural benefit event was a 41-second, 1950s vintage black-and-white video of an outdoor fashion show at Union Square Plaza
“When we acquired the salon over a year ago, my business partners and I knew that we wanted to do something important for the community. After I watched this video, I thought this would be the perfect way for the salon to bring back this idea of an outdoor fashion show to Union Square some 70 years later and raise money and awareness for two important causes: UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and Blue Heart International” said salon co-owner Blake McCall.
“Because of the rain, we had to switch last minute to a nearby indoor venue, the Village on Market Street, and yet we managed to find some ways to tie in Union Square Plaza. It took some doing, but nobody’s gonna rain on our parade with this first-time event.”
Spotted in the sold-out crowd of 286 guests were Farah and Victor Makras, Roxanne Najafi, Julia Angel and Jay Patel, Missy McCall, Portia McGill, Kevin Hughey, Tara Brock, Tino Garcia and James Bondoc.
Early on during the reception, guests quaffed sparkling wines and waters while enjoying savory and flavorful Asian bites from Union Square’s acclaimed E&O Kitchen. On hand greeting guests were a pair of dragsters, Patty McGroin and Roxie Cotton Candy, providing only-in San Francisco eye candy and conversation. Inquiring about their spangled dresses, Roxie quipped,“Putting this all together in the men’s room was tough, but we’re pros.” Indeed.
California painter Shane Grammer was on the scene with paint brushes, canvas and more, busily creating a colorful painting of the Golden Gate Bridge in a roped-off area that also included his just completed portrait of Audrey Hepburn. Both of these iconic images would be featured in the live auction led by the high-voltage Robi Quick sporting a bold navy-blue polka dot suit.
The musical part of the evening began with an explosive performance by the kinetic and virtuosic electric violinist Spags, who fiddled her way down the runway moving in thigh-high silver lamé boots while tossing her long black hair to the pulsing techno beat. But then it got better with the first of two powerful and inspiring songs, “Conqueror” and “Fight Song,” performed by Nigerian-born singer Kechi. You might recall her highly emotional performance in 2017 as the out-standing finalist from America’s Got Talent, and Simon Cowell proclaiming Kechi to be not only a “survivor” [of a burn fire] but “a champion of life” when he hit the golden buzzer. Before she finished her songs, the enthusiastic benefit audience was on its feet showering her with cheers.
The Bay Area’s own J’Amy Tarr was the featured designer in a runway show that covered much of her portfolio of work to date, including some hand-painted dresses created in the early days of her career. Bringing a unique understanding of the many microclimates Bay Area weather can bring, Tarr offered multiple options of outerwear, including stylish blanket coats, form-fitting zip jackets and plush capes. It proved to be a match for the bold and eye-popping hair creations and neon-colored make-up designs by the Joseph Cozza Salon wizards.
More than $90,000 was raised and will underwrite beauty school scholarships for women who were previously victims of sex trafficking, and for the creation of stylish wigs for young teenage girls who are cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.