Alliance Française de Chicago Hosts “Ready, Set, Fête”
Alliance Française de Chicago Fête accomplished its mission to bring Americans and French-speaking cultures together for a beautiful evening of taste, style, and class. Set in the Cooper Technica auto storage garage downtown, Alliance Française de Chicago chose an unlikely location for a glamorous event and filled it with art history, French food and wine, live music, and footage of the late, great Josephine Baker dancing on the big screen. The shining pièce de résistance were several vintage French automobiles worth over $2 million, strategically parked for every guest to stand in awe. President of the organization Herve de la Vauvre, Executive Director John G.W. McCord, and member of the steering committee Catherine Guillemin-Lynch orchestrated the memorable event, successfully marrying the 1920s to the twenty-first century.
Arriving in attire from the glamorous 1920’s era, prominent Chicagoans were greeted with caviar hors d’oeuvres, a signature cocktail, and a special VIP tour of Cooper Technica. Promoting the importance of education between Americans and French-speaking cultures such as Europe, Africa, Canada, the Caribbean, and the Middle East since 1897, Alliance Française de Chicago hopes to further its mission. Hosting both a live and silent auction with items valued over $15,000 such as two tickets to the 2016 Grand Prix Historique de Monaco, one week in Palais Lamrani, Marrakech, one week in Villa Fundadores, Los Cabos, and the list continues, the organization’s programs that serve over 4,000 students and the Chez Kids Academy will continue expanding its language courses, current event lectures, group discussions on international affairs, concerts, cooking classes, ciné-club film series, and building upon its real estate with the Brown Médiathèque Library.
The event took breaks in between the Galaxie Girls providing show-stopping tap dance entertainment and the auctioneer educating the guests on such historic figures as civil rights activist W. E. B. DuBois, who was of African and French descent. Everywhere guests turned, they were further drawn into history. Owners of the vintage automobiles took pride in allowing spectators to sit behind the wheel, snapping selfies in a car valued over $2 million, but priceless in terms of 80 years worth of history. The restored high-end vintage cars had seen World War II, survived the Great Depression, carried high-profile figures and four generations in its passenger seat.
Anyone walking by the Cooper Technica storage garage this past weekend had no idea of the world that was taking place inside. Alliance Française de Chicago created an ambiance of rich culture, exchange, exploration, entertainment, and friendship between different cultures. Opening their arms to embrace newcomers, Alliance Française de Chicago has demonstrated how to develop a global view of the world.
With locations in Chicago and France, Cooper Technica offers expert restorations, specializing invaluable, vintage European automobiles from a distant and bygone era, spanning from the late 1920s to the late 1940s. At Cooper Technica, they “maximize each car’s potential value with the highest standards of authentic restoration, meticulous research and historical documentation, and an emphasis on functionality.”
Virtually unnoticeable at 401 N. May St., this unique facility brings to life extraordinary European autos that most people have never seen or heard of, such as a 1937 Delage D8 – 120 Aerosport, a 1927 Bugatti 35B, or a 1948 Delahaye 135M, among others. Under the careful guidance of owner David Cooper, Cooper Technica magnifies the features and assets of every auto, from all angles; emphasizing authenticity, functionality, capabilities, and investments.
Indeed, at Cooper Technica, an automobile is not just a car to be viewed or enjoyed for the short term; rather it is a part of history to be preserved and revered for decades to come. Cooper Technica paired well with the Alliance Française de Chicago, both placing a high value on culture and history.
Congratulations to David Cooper, John G.W. McCord, and Catherine Guillemin-Lynch for coordinating such a wonderful event!