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Scene & Heard

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Guests go back in time at the Great Gatsby Gala

By Olivia Fortson

The Great Gatsby Gala started out 25 years ago as a Sunday afternoon party on the lawn to raise money for the Greater Carolinas Chapter of the National MS Society. Within a few years, its popularity propelled it into an evening event that quickly turned into one of the city’s largest black tie costumed galas.

Part of its longevity is that so many men and women of all ages love the era of the Roaring ’20s – they never seem to tire of pulling out their fedoras and flapper dresses for the occasion. It especially appeals to those in the 20-40 age group, which is what the local MS chapter wants because along with raising money, the gala is meant to raise awareness about Multiple Sclerosis, and that’s the common age range when it’s first diagnosed.

The several hundred guests danced to music from a big band, bid on silent auction items and sampled food from some of Charlotte’s best restaurants. A highlight was a dance exhibition from the Arthur Murray Dance Studio.

Having covered this event many times, what was interesting to me is that this year a lot of the women’s outfits were reminiscent of 1920s, but with contemporary touches. Guest Laura Miller told me she thinks that’s because current fashion designers were influenced by that era this season, so a lot of the female guests bought new flapper inspired dresses and accessories rather than getting everything from a costume shop. To see all the photos from the event, go to my Scene & Heard slideshow at www.charlotteobserver.com/style.

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