Models don artistic bras to BUST Breast Cancer
BY PAM BORDELON
Advocate staff writer
November 03, 2012
Flirty, young models sporting bejeweled, bedazzled, feathered and otherwise adorned bras took to the runway at the Manship Theatre’s Hartley-Vey Studio to BUST Breast Cancer at one of the more unique runway shows to hit the Capital City in quite a while. The 30-plus bras were transformed by area artists for the show and then auctioned off to benefit Woman’s Hospital’s mobile mammography coach and patient navigator programs.
“When I looked at the bid sheets this morning, I cried,” confessed event creator Heather Kleinpeter Savoy the day after the Oct. 18 show.
Savoy originally got the idea to create “a Victoria’s Secret-like $1 million bra” shortly after opening the lingerie store Privé in January 2008. “I thought it would be a great promotion. Get a bra embellished by Lee Michaels and auction it off for charity,” she said. “But, you know how it is, we just never got around to doing it.”
Fast forward to this year. Savoy has made the difficult decision to close Privé but she still has this idea floating around in her head, but now the project has evolved. Last February, Savoy went in for her annual gynecological checkup and was told she needed to go have a mammogram. She questioned her doctor, “Why? I’m not even 40!” She was told even though that was the case she still needed to go have one.
Fortunately, she heeded the doctor’s advice because when she went to Woman’s Hospital for her mammogram, they found something. “I spent the day at Woman’s and at some point I came to the realization that I might have cancer,” recalled Savoy. “Fortunately, it was just a cyst, but I became impassioned about early detection and awareness to say the least.”
Now working as the development director for the Shaw Center for Arts and Manship Theatre, she shares her expanded idea with Shaw Executive Director René Chatelain, who thinks it’s great.
Savoy does a little research and discovers others around the country are doing similar projects and she likes what she sees. “I loved their perspective,” she said.
She also shared the idea with Baton Rouge Walls Project co-founder Cassie Thorpe, who jumped on board and agreed to enlist their artists’ help in designing the bras. “It was a great partnership,” said Savoy. “Our mission at first was simply to raise awareness, maybe save a life of someone in that 30- to 40-year-old age group, but when we started to flesh it out we realized it could be a fundraiser. For every 25-cents we spent to put it on, we raised a $1.”
And, yes, it will be an annual event. Already artists who participated are talking about what they’re going to do next year and those who didn’t take part for whatever reason are asking to be put on next year’s list.
“Everybody was proud to be involved, to be a part of it,” said Savoy. “I’m very, very happy!”