Inside the NFL Players Wives Fashion Show

The third floor of Saks was a sea of Chanel handbags and Christian Louboutin pumps Friday morning (although Ashley Manning wore gray Pradas) as guests poured into Saks Fifth Avenue for the 11th Annual Off the Field NFL Players Wives Association Fashion Show.

Sipping on mimosas, champagne, and Fuzzy Vodka–mixed Bloody Marys (the liquor’s namesake owner, Hoosier golf legend Fuzzy Zoeller, was also in attendance), guests bid in a silent auction before settling down to brunch. Afterward, players’ wives starred in the fashion show, emceed by chef Nikki Shaw and former NFL player Cornelius Bennett—or, as he claimed to be affectionately nicknamed, “Biscuit.”

Guests of honor included Ericka Lassiter, president of Off the Field; Charlotte Lucas; and WellPoint CEO Angela Braly. Even beyond the runway, the scene was a chic display of prominent fashion trends, including plenty of animal print, fur trim, spring dresses, and red ensembles in support of ‘Wear Red Day,” fighting heart disease in women. Gentlemen wore small red dress pins on their lapels for the same cause.

>> SEE our photo gallery of these lovely ladies (and, later, some of their men).

The runway looks told another story. Gussie Fuller went wild in a snakeskin top and bright teal jeans, while event chair Tanya Hand of Indy (wife of former Colts player Jon Hand) donned a bright purple maxi dress with a neon-green-handled straw bag. Nautical stripes, bright pops of tangerine and orange, color blocking, little white dresses, and jewel tones were among the other looks featured on the 18 additional models that included Holly Hill-Brooks, Edwina Wright, and Marlin Jackson’s fiancee, Nikki Hill.

Co-chair Manning made a sunny entrance in a bright-yellow Chanel number and later strutted down the runway in a Dolce & Gabbana dress accompanied by a navy Prada handbag.  Hand, her co-chair, said for spring, she’s ready to do away with black. “I’m looking forward to color,” she said excitedly.

So which model received the biggest round of applause? In a turquoise dress and sparkling flats, 8-year-old Roxy Cooper—daughter of Broad Ripple salon owner Bobby Cooper and wife Sarah, who also dazzled in sparkling shoes and a sequin detailed dress. Roxy has been a patient at the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital for four years.

The event raised money for charities such as Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital and JT’s Hand, founded by Tanya Hand in 1997, after she and husband lost their premature son in 1995.

JT’s Hand and Peyton Manning’s Children’s Hospital are among the list of charities that will benefit when Saks donates 5 percent of each purchase made in February.  


Photo IDs: Event co-chairs Ashley Manning and Tanya Hand; Sarah and Roxy Cooper; Roxy Cooper; golf legend Fuzzy Zoeller; Peg Strum and Cherie Palma; WellPoint CEO Angela Braly receiving a “Women of Courage” award