By  on October 16, 2006

NEW YORK — The late Fernando Sanchez got what he wanted to celebrate his life and 53 years in the world of fashion: a big party at his sprawling residence at the landmark Osbourne building here, where 200 notables from the fashion, literary and music worlds came to honor him.

The event was hosted by Sanchez's cousin and business partner at FSH Inc., Jano Herbosch, and her daughter, Alessa. Guests included Zac Posen, Fran Leibovitz, Stephen Burrows, Loulou de la Falaise, Tyson Beckford, Mary McFadden, Amy Fine Collins, Kenneth Jay Lane, Grace Mirabella, Peter Beard, Connie Uzzo, Kazuko, Michael Gross and two of Sanchez's favorite models from the Seventies and Eighties, Alva Chin and Pat Cleveland.

"I think Fernando would have loved this and I think he is here. Everybody is saying it. Fernando had a very strong spirit, and people who have a lot of strength in life come back to visit their friends," said de la Falaise, as throngs of partygoers admired a collage of personal and professional photos of Sanchez displayed inside a glass armoire.

A number of those photos, which included candid shots of Sanchez with Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Berge, Karl Lagerfeld, Iman and Cher, were complied in "tribute brochures" designed by Jano Herbosch that were handed out to guests as they left.

Longtime model Carmen Dell'Orefice said she attended the party despite a sprained ankle, "because I just loved Fernando."

"He was funny, never boring and always saw the big picture. He had design in his soul," said Dell'Orefice, who often modeled in fashion shoots for Sanchez photographed by the late Norman Parkinson.

The noisy party suddenly fell into a hush as Geoffrey Holder, the 6-foot, 6-inch character actor and singer who most recently did the narration for the motion picture "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," announced in a booming tenor voice: "Hear ye, hear ye! Everybody into the main room, now."

Holder then asked guests to make a toast to "the sweetest man I've ever known on Earth." And Sanchez received the kudos he so loved after a fashion show.

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