NEW YORK — As the fashion industry rallies for one of its largest annual fund-raisers to combat ovarian cancer on Saturday in Water Mill, N.Y., a generally lighthearted shopping event known as Super Saturday, the seriousness of the issue is being underscored by news that a popular designer, a pioneer in the field of activewear, is currently battling the disease.

Bonnie August, who won a Coty Award for her creations for Danskin in 1978 and who has designed under her own name for the past 20 years, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer more than six years ago and remains seriously ill, said her sister, Marilyn August. She is famous for having popularized an athletic look of the late Seventies, when Manhattan’s disco culture spilled over into streetwear, and women wore colorful stretch leotards and wraparound skirts.

The Augusts are calling on the industry to maintain support for women’s cancer initiatives. “The industry can help by educating the public, having the fund-raising and letting people know how much support is needed,” she said.

Liz Tilberis, the Harper’s Bazaar editor who died of ovarian cancer in 1999, launched the Super Saturday benefit in 1998 with a group sample sale. Admission to the event, which runs 1-6 p.m. at Nova’s Ark Project, 60 Millstone Road in Water Mill, is $375 for adults, and $100 for children. Further details are available at

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