Seventh Notte In Bianco for the Guzzo Foundation
September 3 was the date of the seventh Notte in Bianco benefit organised by the Guzzo family for the Guzzo Environment-Cancer Research Chair at the Université de Montréal. For the occasion, Maria and Vincent Guzzo, owners of the Guzzo movie theatres, welcomed 400 guests into their home. LUXE spoke to Maria Guzzo.
Where did you get the idea to create the Environment-Cancer Research Chair?
We were approached by an internationally famous researcher, Jack Siemiatycki. My husband’s parents beat cancer and I’ve always had it in my head that I should do something to fight this terrible illness. But I wanted to concentrate on prevention. The foundation was born in 2007. Its goal is to amass a maximum of scientific evidence to clearly show the impact of our environment, especially the milieu we live in and our lifestyle, on the risk of developing any type of cancer.
Everyone has to wear white to Notte in Bianco. Where did you get this idea?
We love to go to the Hamptons, near New York, and one day we were invited to a party organised by Puff Daddy, the American singer and producer. Everyone had to come dressed in white. We were very taken with the idea and we copied it. White is also a symbol of purity and serenity, and that matches the spirit of our event.
Do some of your guests have trouble finding the right thing to wear?
No, because I become a consulting stylist for the occasion and give them the right addresses!
You organise the evening. How long do you spend on preparing for the event?
My husband and I created this event together, but I do all the organising. Since 80% of our guests come back each year, I have to start thinking about next year’s event even before this year’s is finished. The hardest thing is finding a concept, because even if I sometimes get ideas from my husband (laughing), usually I have to come up with everything myself. This evening really is one woman’s vision! Happily, I can count on help from my partners for the evening, like UB Media, Moët & Chandon, the SAQ, Buonanotte and Christian Dior.
Can we call this 7th edition another success?
Yes, indeed! We raised around $300,000 with a silent auction of portraits of personalities from Québec, including Vincenzo Guzzo (laughing), Jean Chrétien, Sugar Sammy, Julie du Page, Chloé Sainte-Marie, Éric Salvail, Ginette Reno, Fabienne Larouche, Marie-Mai, Alain Lefèvre, Maxim Roy, Gilbert Sicotte and Antoine Bertrand. All the profits will go to the Jewish General Hospital and the Montreal Children’s Hospital, besides supporting research at the Université de Montréal. It was a magical evening. This year, Jean Chrétien, the former Prime Minister of Canada, delighted us by being our Honourary Patron. During the evening, Ginette Reno and Taylor Dane gave stunning musical performances. I think that this 7th edition was an even bigger success than the others.
So you’ll be back next year?
Yes! I want to keep this tradition going for a long time yet. Then I’ll hand the reins to my daughter, I hope… She’s only three, but she helped me prepare the gift bags for the guests and she’s my main fashion inspiration! So there’ll be someone to take over from me!
Text: Diane Stehle
Photos: Egide Photo