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Guess And Marie Claire Host Benefit For Sojourn Services

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Awash in purple satin accents and purple floral arrangements, the GUESS store on Hollywood and Highland was filled with celebrities and stylish party-goers Wednesday night. The GUESS and Marie Claire-sponsored fete unveiled a special edition GUESS t-shirt in honor of October's Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which benefits Sojourn Services for Battered Women and Their Children. Founded in 1977, Sojourn is an outlet of the Santa Monica based-social services agency that provides shelter, support groups, legal assistance and a children's program in order to enrich and empower the lives of domestic violence victims.

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Hosted by longtime Sojourn advocates Vanessa Marcil and Jillian Michaels, the importance of empowerment seemed to be a key focus for the evening. Marcil, who began working for the charity 15 years ago, "feels that it is incredibly important for women who have given up everything to be with their children to have a place to go so that they don't have to raise them in a violent environment." Marcil goes to Sojourn every year with her 8-year-old son, Kassius, and brings hand-picked gifts to the children that are staying at the shelter.

"What really empowers me and I think all women, in the bond we have with each other, is how much power there is in women celebrating each other and not trying to tear each other down," Marcil said. "I think it helps your relationships with men as well because when you're fed by your strong female relationships, you don't expect as much from the men in your life and it kind of leaves them open to want to give more. Female bonding and forgiveness, the ability to forgive anyone of almost anything, is truly where empowerment comes from."

The t-shirt worn by Marcil and Michaels was designed by 16-year-old Ella Marciano (daughter of GUESS CEO and Vice-Chairman, Paul Marciano and Kymberly Marciano-Strauss) and features the words "Hope, Love, Courage, Strength, Community and Empower," in the shape of a purple heart--the color of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Marciano designed the shirt for the "philanthropic aspect more so than the design aspect," after being introduced to the charity by her mother and Marcil. Designing the shirt hasn't been the end for Marciano, who is currently in training to become a volunteer at Sojourn where she will work to help empower the children to build confidence. What empowers Marciano?

"Everything in my life, my family, my friends, my boyfriend, everyone really. People in your life can really make you feel responsible and make you feel safe."

The t-shirt, which retails for $24, was on display throughout the store, as celebs such as Jessica Lowndes and Danielle Fishel mingled with guests, sipped cocktails from an open bar, and enjoyed appetizers. The DJ-spun music added to the upbeat atmosphere, and kept people shopping.

To purchase the t-shirt, visit any Los Angeles GUESS store or shop online. To learn more about the Sojourn's services, visit www.opcc.org.

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