Fashion Leaders ‘Dine in the Dark’ at the Plaza Hotel to Fight Blindness

Two-hundred and fifty high-profile Manhattanites gathered at The Plaza Hotel on May 22 for the 3rd Annual New York Fashion Ball: Dining in the Dark event, where guests enjoyed a multi-course dinner — in complete darkness! The unique dining experience was organized by the Foundation Fighting Blindness, a non-profit focused on vision-saving research, and designed to give attendees a first-hand glimpse into the lives of the blind by challenging them to eat their entrée (grilled entrecote of beef with asparagus and baby carrots, mascarpone polenta and a barolo sauce) in complete blackness.

“The experience of Dining in the Dark opens guests’ eyes to what people like me, who have a vision impairment, deal with on a daily basis,” revealed co-chair Evan Mittman. Following a live auction and a touching performance by blind singer-songwriter, Blessing Offor, a team of visually-impaired servers (trained specifically for the event) maneuvered throughout the pitch black ballroom using ropes and stanchions to facilitate guests on their new culinary journey.

At the end of the evening, fashion leaders Jonathan Adler and Elaine Gold were presented with visionary awards for their contributions to the fashion industry. “The evening’s deserving honorees are visionaries in the fashion industry, just as the Foundation Fighting Blindness is a visionary committed to ending blindness,” said Mittman.

The event raised more than $425,000, which benefits sight-saving research, prevention, treatment and cures for retinal diseases like macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa that affect more than 10 million Americans. “Our hope is to shine light on the impact of retinal disease,” explained Mittman, “while raising funds for cutting-edge research in promising areas like gene therapy, stem cells and pharmaceutical treatments.”

Check out more pictures from the event below!

Photography by Zachary Baudoin