Special to South Florida Times

MIAMI BEACH — Miami resident Dorothy Andrade has followed the career of music legend Dionne Warwick for half a century. On March 22, she got the rare opportunity of a fan meeting the object of her admiration.

Andrade was among the guests attending a meet-the-host session featuring Warwick who came to town to host the 14th annual Miami Beach International Fashion Week, March 21-24 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

“Throughout the trials and tribulations of my life, her music has helped me,” Andrade said. “This was close and upfront. It was wonderful.”

Warwick’s son Damon Elliott, a Grammy winning producer and songwriter who has worked with artists such as Christina Aguilera and PINK, sat offstage as his mother talked to guests and journalists.

“My mom always told me just be true to who you are and you will win,” Elliott said. He attributed his family’s unending support and success to the faith they have in God.

Elliott said the music industry has changed a lot from the time when singers like his mother wore gowns onstage — which could explain how the singer ended up associated with Fashion Week.

“Dionne Warwick is a style icon,” said Fashion Week President Beth Sobol. “Having someone of her level and stature in the music and fashion world join us was just tremendous for everybody. It’s a new step forward.”

Sobol said this was the first year a celebrity guest had been brought on to host the event since it started in 1999 as an outlet for designers from Europe and the Americas.

The five-time Grammy award-winning artist has achieved many accolades throughout her 50-year music career. She received her first Grammy in 1968 for the classic Do You Know The Way to San Jose? While in Miami, Warwick was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Tiffany & Co, a Fashion Week sponsor.

Sobol listed designers who caught Warwick’s attention, such as eveningwear designers Juan Carlos Guamán of Ecuador and Peruvian native Eduardo de las Casas, an Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale graduate.

The singer received a G. Destin Collection handbag from Gary Destin, an African-American designer based in Hallandale.

Starting this week, the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles will feature an exhibit honoring Warwick’s half-century of achievement. Shortly afterward, she will kick off a world tour covering six continents and launch a new album to showcase her work.

“Being able to enjoy my accomplishments and my grandbabies has been the best part of my life so far,” Warwick said during her meeting with the press. She thanked the fans who have stood by her each decade.

Rochelle Oliver maybe reached at Rochelle@RochelleOliver.com

Photo: Dionne Warwick