A few years back, one of Chicago’s premier men-about-town, Bunky Cushing, heard about an annual Palm Beach affair called the Old Bags Luncheon. Each guest brought a gently used designer handbag, which was raffled off for charity.

Cushing thought it was a great idea, and like all great ideas, worth copying. So he did. On Oct. 8, about 80 women gathered at RL Restaurant in Chicago’s Ralph Lauren store, not only for lunch, but to donate old handbags to the Brown Elephant Resale Shop. Proceeds from the shop, which is famous among Chicago’s thrifty-but-fashionable set, benefit the Howard Brown Health Center, the city’s leading HIV-AIDS clinic.

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