NEW YORK — Bloomingdale’s SoHo played host to a younger demographic than usual on Saturday night.
The draw was a benefit for Camp Sunshine, featuring a fashion show with student models and a concert by The Postelles.
The event was spearheaded by Alison Karasyk and Greer Tessler, Columbia Prep students who were looking for a way to get involved and make a difference. A third student, Cara Gerstle, was involved in starting the effort three years ago but graduated in June.
Each girl had experienced a loved one’s serious illness. Tessler’s cousin, who had lupus, recalled that she visited a camp in California, geared to seriously ill children, that helped her cope. The girls decided to support a camp with a similar mission, Camp Sunshine in Casco, Maine.
Camp Sunshine offers a retreat to very sick children and their families whose lives are compromised and often thrown into crisis due to the complications of serious illness. The facility offers indoor and outdoor recreation, a physician who is on site 24-7, lodging and food to families free of charge.
Anne Keating, senior vice president of Bloomingdale’s, became aware of the girls’ efforts in 2006, when their first benefit was underwritten by their parents and held at the Marquis nightclub here. “I said, ‘Next year, we’ll do it in our SoHo store,'” Keating said. “It was a perfect fit with that community.” Bloomingdale’s staged the fashion show and underwrote the entire event in 2007, as it did on Saturday. Student models from Columbia Prep, Dalton and Spence walked the runway in looks from Diane von Furstenberg, who provided the fashion and styled the show. Bloomingdale’s outfitted the male models. The retailer said it will donate 10 percent of the evening’s net sales from Y.E.S. and men’s to Camp Sunshine.
Tessler said the group raised $120,000 for Camp Sunshine prior to Saturday night’s event. That benefit brought in more than $60,000, according to Bloomingdale’s.
“In this city, where all people talk about is [how] privileged kids are, this is a great example and wonderful opportunity for us to see great kids in a great city,” Keating said. “They’re the philanthropists of the future.”