NEW YORK — Mercedes-Benz and Saks Fifth Avenue sprinkled some Hollywood glitter on Monday morning’s kickoff for the Key to the Cure, a women’s cancer initiative expected to raise more than $3 million.

Lucy Liu and Jamie Tisch turned up under the tents in Bryant Park to talk up the cause, which will benefit 60 charitable programs including the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Women’s Cancer Research Fund.

“Fashion is so global and has so much of an effect on people,” said Liu. “Fashion week is all about fashion, the human form and the body. People come from all over the world to see it. People put so much into their appearance, but they don’t realize their health is what’s most important. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, they let go of all material items and try to become internally more balanced.”

Saks and Mercedes are counting on plenty of people pitching in. Saks will throw open the doors of its Fifth Avenue flagship tonight for a launch party for more than 10,000 people. That will be followed with a private dinner party for 500 at the Four Seasons’ pool room, complete with a dozen pool boys.

Demi Moore, Glenda Bailey, Ron and Kelly Meyer, Carolina Herrera Jr. and her sister, Patricia Lansing, will host the Harper’s Bazaar-sponsored dinner. Guests will be given keys and one will open a $60,000 diamond pendant and another will unlock a Vespa scooter. Balloon chances will hold 100 prizes, likea Cartier watch and a Carolina Herrera fur coat.

In addition, the $29 Danskin T-shirt Stella McCartney designed and Nicole Kidman wore in ads has been selling out at Saks. A reorder for 5,000 was recently placed.

Well aware that New Yorkers are savvy and barraged with marketing images, Liu said the Key to the Cure is something to be involved in. “A lot of people think it’s cool to be standoffish. But cool is really being a part of everything instead of putting yourself in a little box and not looking at anything.”

From Sept. 17-20, a percentage of all sales at Saks’ 62 stores will be given to local and national breast cancer and women’s reproductive cancer research centers. Jacqui Lividini, senior vice president of fashion merchandising and communications, said, “The great thing about this is all the money raised in those communities will stay in those communities.”Meanwhile, Mercedes plans to write a check for $1 million to the Key to the Cure through the sales of specially designed CLK500 Cabriolets, including two that are on display under the tents. The $67,000 cars are being rolled out at dealerships nationwide.

During fashion week, the company will match its employees’ donations to the Key to the Cure.

Lisa Paulsen, EIF’s president and ceo, said about $10 million has been spent on advertising for the Key to the Cure, with “hundreds of thousands of lives” expected to benefit from the cause.

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