On Monday, March 28, New York City luminaries and heavy-hitters supporting HIV/AIDS awareness gathered at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum for the annual Jeffrey Fashion Cares benefit. The charity event, now in its eighth year, raises funds for organizations that fight LGBT discrimination or provide life-saving services for those affected by HIV/AIDS.
The festivities consisted of an elite cocktail reception, auction and runway show, featuring top male models and selected men’s spring/summer styles from Jeffrey boutiques. Organizations benefitting from the 2011 fundraiser were: Hetrick-Martin Institute (home of the Harvey Milk School), Lambda Legal (the formidable LGBT law firm), the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and the Point Foundation (an LGBT student merit scholarship).
Generous sponsors of the philanthropic fête included: Diamond Sponsor, The Palette Fund, Belvedere, Golden Door, Nordstrom, Sperry Top-Sider, W Hotels/Starwood Preferred Guest, Manolo Blahnik, Gucci and David Yurman, among many others. To this date, Jeffrey Fashion Cares has raised more than $11 million, with more than $4 million coming from the New York event.
Before the main event commenced, guests sipped glasses of Moët & Chandon at a cocktail reception for VIPs and big donors (counting the likes of designers Jason Wu, Peter Som and Adam Lippes; TV personality Nate Berkus; and New Jersey Housewives’ Dina Manzo). An hour in, the rest of the invités began pouring in for silent auction. Items up for bid ranged from luxury packages in Istanbul, Bali and Paris to über chic goods from Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Etro, and Maison Martin Margiela. Other enticing options at silent auction consisted of VIP Broadway tickets and dinner packages, and high-end gift baskets. More noteworthy faces mingled about, Belvedere cocktails in hand: model Hanne Gabby Odiele, designer Joseph Altuzara, style expert Robert Verdi, and New York Housewives’ Alex McCord could all be accounted for.
After the silent auction, patrons proceeded to their seats for the runway presentation, where Christie’s auctioneer, Tash Perrin and host, Nate Berkus, led a live auction interlude to much aplomb: A week for two at the Golden Door Spa in San Diego went for $10,500; a Paris Fashion Week package hammered in at $11,000; and a Thailand retreat at the W Hotel in Koh Samui rang in at $8,000. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that the event had already amassed over $500,000 in charitable donations—undoubtedly a momentous success.
Next, attendees enjoyed a brief video-montage explaining Jeffrey Fashion Cares and the history of the causes it supports, before models stormed the runway in Lanvin, Balenciaga and Gucci. Then it was back to the DJ spinning top-notch beats, as guests took a few more rounds at the various bars peppered throughout.