By  on September 2, 2009

ATLANTA — This city’s fall fashion season kicked off Monday night with the 17th annual Jeffrey Fashion Cares fund-raiser for AIDS and breast cancer charities, where Jason Wu was the guest designer.

The fashion show featured glimpses of Wu’s fall collection, as well as runway looks from Gucci and Prada, and shoes from Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik.

“My life right now is all about this collection,” Wu said. “I’ve worked 24/7 on it since June, and I really don’t have time for much else.”

Acknowledging previous Fashion Cares guest designers, including Oscar de la Renta and Isaac Mizrahi, Wu said, “It’s such an honor to be…among such amazing company. Everything that’s happened since the inauguration [First Lady Michele Obama wore his evening gown] has been pretty mind-blowing.”

About 850 people paid $500 a ticket to attend the event at 55 Allen Plaza in downtown Atlanta. Sponsorships started at $1,500 and ran to $25,000 and included fashion houses such as Lanvin, Stella McCartney, Burberry and Bottega Veneta, as well as corporate donations from Delta, W Hotels and Nordstrom.

Following the runway show, there was an after-party at the adjacent W Hotel. The final fund-raising tally was not available. Last year’s gala raised more than $800,000.

The event’s founder, Jeffrey Kalinsky, Nordstrom’s executive vice president of designer merchandising since May 2007, confirmed a WWD report that he will start a sabbatical this week with the expiration of his Nordstrom contract. He denied that critical changes were planned for his role at the store chain or for the Jeffrey retail operation, in which Nordstrom bought 90 percent of the shares.

“It’s absolutely not true; nothing major is going on,” Kalinsky said. “I’m just going to be sitting on a beach in New York for a month.”

He lauded Wu, saying, “It’s been such a big year for him. He’s 26 years old, and just look at what he’s already done.”

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