High tea brings high hopes for breast cancer research

Last weekend, Hilton Adelaide hosted the High Tea Party, a glamorous all-day event where girls could catch up with their friends for afternoon tea, do some shopping and be pampered.

Last weekend, Hilton Adelaide hosted the High Tea Party, a glamorous all-day event where girls could catch up with their friends for afternoon tea, do some shopping and be pampered.

The second floor of the hotel was swarming with women drinking bubbly, having their nails done, browsing and spending on vintage and new clothes, having a makeover and more.

The main event was the fashion parade by Living Silk in the function room where tables of friends were treated to a delicious high tea and a parade like no other.


Living Silk, owned by mother and daughter team Karen Harley and Olivia Russell have been involved in the High Tea Party for the past four years but this year, decided to do it a bit differently.

“We’ve been doing the same event in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and this is the first time in Adelaide and Perth. The National Breast Cancer Foundation is one of the major sponsors, so we thought this year we would invite ladies who have had breast cancer or are going through breast cancer treatment to be catwalk models for us,” Olivia Russell said.

After wandering around the exhibitions of gorgeous wares, ladies took their seats at high tea and prepared for the parade; the atmosphere was lively.

Each woman strutted her stuff on the catwalk, modelling Living Silk’s range of beautiful, colourful and elegant clothes; they were sassy, sexy and sophisticated.

The mood in the room was electric as each lady shimmied and spun on the runway, glowing with a zest for life and a genuine love for each other.

BC survivor

Sharon Watson, 38, who grew up in Adelaide, flew over from Melbourne to take part in the parade, which sourced its models by putting a callout on the National Breast Cancer Foundation Facebook page.

“My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer at 37 and so I was always very aware and had regular mammograms. A lump was found when I was in my 30s so I had a double mastectomy within two weeks of being diagnosed, a reconstruction then started chemo. I finished chemo two weeks ago so I’m absolutely exhausted,” Ms Watson said.

Despite her exhaustion, Ms Watson and fellow Adelaide models Helena Farrugia and Anita Galloway have all had the time of their lives being a part of Living Silk’s parade.

“I just love the togetherness,” Ms Farrugia said. “Meeting the other girls, having hair and makeup done and being dressed in the lovely clothes; because having breast cancer, you just want to live and even though you lose a lot of confidence, you have the courage to do more,” she said.

All of the women involved with the parade agreed it had been a wonderful experience where they had met new friends and enjoyed the chance to be on stage, having fun.

Sharon and Helena

“We forget so quickly,” Ms Galloway said. “It’s like childbirth. Once you get the reward of the baby, you forget what you’ve gone through. So there we are up there feeling glamorous, womanly and attractive, but it was only a few months ago I had no fingernails, no toenails, no skin on my feet, I couldn’t stand up. And now here I am, feeling beautiful and that’s what they’ve given us,” she said.

Last year, the High Tea Party raised $50,000 for breast cancer research and, according to spokesperson Joyce Chircop, they’re looking to double that over the five high tea events.

Ladies at the High Tea

“The High Tea Party gives $10 from every ticket sold to breast cancer research. The aspiration of the National Breast Cancer Foundation is to have zero deaths from breast cancer by 2030,” Ms Chircop said.

The High Tea Party heads to Melbourne next, then to Perth, Sydney and Brisbane.

Living Silk have boutiques in Brisbane and Melbourne and their webpage can be viewed here:

Story by Libby Parker

Photos by Jessica Zotti





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