In her signature dotted font, Stella McCartney's name appeared at the top of the invite for an annual brunch and private shopping event to benefit H.E.A.R.T. (Helping Ease Abuse Related Trauma) for the Foundation for VIP Mental Health Center (Violence Intervention Program).
But quiche and chic bags aside, this event also featured a program of speakers and McCartney had second billing behind the woman of the hour, Dr. Astrid H. Heger, executive director of VIP, as well as a professor of clinical pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Heger - a H.E.A.R.T. advisory board member alongside Eve Gerber, Mareva Georges, Patricia Gordon, Molly Isaken Sures, Fran Lasker, Alison Petrocelli, Shiva Rose, Linda Bernstein Rubin, Cio Soler and Gillian Wynn - broke hearts and inspired action among the 200-plus women in attendance.
She did that by sharing difficult stories about some of the more challenging cases to come across her desk. There was the 10-year-old girl who got pregnant as a result of incest and the teenage boy who was passed around as a sex slave and forced to live in the trunk of a car for four years. But don't call these human beings "a cause," Heger cautioned.
"It's not a cause. This is really, really for me about every single child, so they don't get lumped together," she said. "Every kid is unique and has unique needs. That's what this is about."
After Heger's impassioned remarks, McCartney needed to find a way to address the women, something she has done since she joined them at the backyard party five years ago, held at the beautiful residence of Jay and Molly Sures. (The former is managing director of UTA and the latter is a renowned interior designer, and both stood near the back and greeted guests with warmth and smiles, while Jay spent most of his time with Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom.)
But this year's segue wasn't so easy.
"I would say so much more," McCartney opened. "But I don't know how to follow you. You are so extraordinary. You take my breath away. I'm honored to be in the same room as you."
She then joked that she's going to "buy, like 250 million more memberships" to H.E.A.R.T. to help support Heger's work. Another joke that helped lighten the mood came when McCartney quipped, "This is the hen party of all hen parties," referring to the almost-exclusively female roster of attendees. Some of those included Juliet Angus, (a pregnant) Jessica Capshaw, Olivia Culpo, Lisa Eisner, Jenni Kayne, Leona Lewis, Andrea Lieberman, Melissa Rivers, Shiva Rose, Rachel Roy, Kelly Sawyer, Molly Sims, Zoe Winkler and Rachel Zoe.
It was the latter who detailed her emotions to Pret-a-Reporter. "My reaction is tears - many of them. How do I do more for the cause? How do I get more involved? How do I sleep at night knowing this (abuse) is happening?"
Molly Sures explained that in addition to opening her home, she's been supporting Heger since "I was 20 or 21." "I was lucky enough to meet her and be a part of this amazing group of women who started to support her," she explained. "It has grown from 30 people in a backyard eating store-bought muffins to this unbelievable event that Stella has now taken under her wing."
Added Soler: "It's not just about the monetary value of a donation. It's about the different ways that someone can give to another human being, be that social media, showing up, lending a helping hand, listening."
Designer Roy did more than listen during the program, she jotted down notes to remember Heger's passion and dedication. "She's like Mother Theresa," she complimented.
She's also proof "that you can actually make change and create a better world," Rose said.
Discussions of social change and action continued as guests filled their plates with a vegetarian buffet provided by Gjusta and desserts by Sprinkles. And while some guests nibbled on delicious treats, McCartney posed for selfies and helped guests pick out items from her line, proving that it doesn't matter where her name is on the invite, she's just one of the girls.
LADIES WHO BRUNCH: Paige Larkin, Julia Lescova, Cio Soler, Eva Marciano, Irena Medavoy, Sybil Orr and Angie Simpson for the annual H.E.A.R.T. brunch featuring Stella McCartney in Los Angeles on April 14, 2016. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Violence Intervention Program / H.E.A.R.T.)
HOST FAMILY: Molly, Jay and Emily Sures opened their home for the annual H.E.A.R.T. brunch featuring Stella McCartney in Los Angeles on April 14, 2016. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Violence Intervention Program / H.E.A.R.T.)
REBEL WITH A CAUSE: Astrid H. Heger poses at the annual H.E.A.R.T. brunch featuring Stella McCartney in Los Angeles on April 14, 2016. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Violence Intervention Program / H.E.A.R.T.)