News Release

29 Sep 2016

Fashionistas are invited to Van Andel Institute’s 11th annual Couture for a Cure

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Sept. 29, 2016)—The 11th annual Couture for a Cure event returns Thursday, Oct. 13, transforming Van Andel Institute (VAI) into an unforgettable New York-style runway show. Hundreds of West Michigan fashionistas will be treated to delectable hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and a fashion show presented by Leigh’s, featuring the newest fall trends and an exclusive preview of internationally-renowned clothing designer Wes Gordon’s spring 2017 collection.

One hundred percent of the proceeds from Couture for a Cure directly fund research into cancer, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, and a wide range of science education programs at Van Andel Institute (VAI). As the Institute’s stature has grown internationally, Couture for a Cure has evolved from a small fundraiser into West Michigan’s premier fashion event.

“Couture for a Cure offers guests an exceptional night out and the opportunity to support groundbreaking biomedical research and science education,” said Carol Van Andel, executive director of the David and Carol Van Andel Family Foundation. “Event guests enjoy a metropolitan, artistic display of fashion while supporting research that improves the lives of patients with cancer and other diseases.”

This year’s Couture for a Cure focuses on cancers that affect women, including the work of Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) Assistant Professor Hui Shen, Ph.D. Shen uses leading-edge technology to investigate the molecular background of ovarian cancer to identify its cause; her research provides insight that can lead to new diagnostics and therapies.

“Amway is proud to support Van Andel Institute and its groundbreaking research to combat diseases such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease,” said Candace Matthews, Amway Americas regional president. “Couture for a Cure is both spectacular and inspiring and we are delighted to be the title sponsor for a seventh year.” Guests will enjoy Amway’s ARTISTRY Fall 2016 Limited Edition Collection – #Hi-Tech Metallics – and take home the luxe accessory of the season, The Metallized, Dramatized Eye.

Wes Gordon—this year’s featured designer—will make a personal appearance at the event. Gordon is the two-time recipient of the coveted Swarovski Collective sponsorship and has received accolades from some of the fashion industry’s most prestigious publications. A long list of some of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities have donned his luxurious designs since the launch of his own self-named line of women’s wear in 2009.

Local fashion expert and owner of Leigh’s, Rebecca Wierda, has partnered with Van Andel Institute since the first event in 2006. She feels blessed to leverage her expertise to raise awareness for biomedical research and science education. “Couture for a Cure follows Fashion Week in New York and brings the hottest looks home to West Michigan,” she said. “I am grateful to be a part of this special evening and help make a difference in the lives of others.”

Couture for a Cure will be held from 6–11 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13. Individual tickets are $100. For more information on the event, including how to purchase tickets, please visit