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Celebrate Fashion -- and Denver Health -- tonight in Cherry Creek North

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Rained out of its original outdoor venue and date last month, Cherry Creek North's Celebrate Fashion is finally on for tonight -- indoors -- at the JW Marriott in Cherry Creek. The show will feature fourteen boutiques, each presenting fall adult and children's collections available in Cherry Creek North. The beneficiary of this event is the Denver Health Foundation, the fundraising arm of the Denver Health Medical Center, which supports patient care, medical research, equipment and professional education.

We spoke with Leslie Horna, marketing and communications director for Cherry Creek and its Business Improvement District, and Paula Herzmark, head of the Denver Health Foundation, about the show and the importance of fashionable public/private partnerships for a cause.

See also: Colorado Fashion Week 2013

Westword: Cherry Creek North/BID has a separate identity from Cherry Creek Mall. Tell us about that.

Leslie Horna: There are 400 businesses within a sixteen-block area; 74 percent of the businesses are independently owned and a significant number of the businesses are owned by women. Cherry Creek North is also unique in that we offer the customer a personalized experience with attention to detail. Department stores are typically a catch-all, and they serve a necessary purpose as well.

Can you give us a few examples of uniqueness?

For example, Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit, fair-trade store that offers handmade global gifts representing Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Their vision is to help artists in developing countries earn a fair profit. Young Colors is a children's clothing store with only two physical locations; we have the flagship store and the other is an outlet in Salida. The Majority of their business is done wholesale. Donna Prescott, the owner, along with her husband create the designs and creats the patterns for their line.

Why the partnership with the Denver Health Foundation?

Cherry Creek North/BID is funded by sales tax revenue. Businesses want us to promote the area and to show the community what we can do with their support. Last year was the first year we tried the public/private partnership; it was successful, so we wanted to repeat our success. We always look for good partnerships that fit our commitment to community and the Denver Health Foundation was selected.

What are the benefits of a public/private partnership, especially with two entities that couldn't be more different?

We may be different but we both have a strong sense of community. We care about our community from a health perspective: We support the B-Cycle bike-sharing program to promote another healthy alternative to get around North Cherry Creek. The more active the community, the healthier they will be. We have so many restaurants that offer healthy options that also contribute to the overall health of the community.

Who are your show favorites?

Beyond 9 has been open for about a year; they carry great women's clothes, accessories and shoes. I'm excited to see what they will bring to the runway. Eccentricity has been in the North Cherry Creek for years, and it will definitely wow on the runway. People will be surprised.

Westword: What is important for us to know about the Denver Health Foundation?

Paula Herzmark: The Denver Foundation is very passionate about the health of the community and true to our mission to sustain and advance health. All of the money we raise goes directly to patient care. I don't think people know that we are on the cutting edge and help DHMC sustain the excellent care that is provided. The Mayo Clinic refers patients to DHMC and we want the message to get out that we are a place of choice. We want to tell our story that goes beyond excellent "trauma" care. Why is the partnership with CCN important to the foundation?

They are a great partner to help tell our story. We were impressed by the tremendous success of their fundraising efforts last year, and we are always looking for good philanthropic partners, especially those who share our passion for community service. CCN is important to the foundation because they share the same commitment to excellence as the foundation, and we showcase that with our Centers of Excellence. CCN is very successful when it comes to serving our community through building strong and stable retail businesses. We are neighbors; it's a natural marriage.

You spoke about maintaining Centers of Excellence. What are they?

DHMC is known for its Centers of Excellence because of the expertise we offer in specific fields. We have centers of excellence in the areas of urology, cardiology, orthopedics, a state-of-the-art emergency department for children and an acute eating disorder unit.

There is a lot of excitement around the CCN Fashion Show since it had to be rescheduled because of the weather. Who are some of your favorite retailers?

I can honestly say I have shopped almost every store in Cherry Creek North. I used to own a Christmas store at Third and Fillmore. I bought it after the owner died; my sister and I ran it. It was just what all good Jewish girls want -- to own a Christmas store!

Celebrate Fashion in Cherry Creek North starts with cocktail party at 6 p.m., followed by child and adult fashion shows at 8 p.m. at the JW Marriott, 150 Clayton Lane. At 9:30, the official after-party for Celebrate Fashion moves to Cherry, 231 Milwaukee Street. Tickets are $150 to $200 for seated VIP; food and drink are included in the ticket price. Find more information on the Celebrate Fashion in Cherry Creek North here.

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