NEW YORK — The jeweled crowd was out in force last week at two charitable events: the Rita Hayworth Gala and the Jewelry Industry Chapter of American ORT tribute dinner.
Last Tuesday’s 19th annual Alzheimer’s Association Rita Hayworth Gala, which was themed “The Magic of Mardi Gras” and underwritten by Rolex Watch USA, had a distinctly bacchanalian feel. Some 770 guests crowded the ballroom at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which was transformed into a carnival fantasy for the occasion, with sprawling floral arrangements and wild Brazilian dancers practicing their moves in glittering costumes.
“I am in hiding, I only hand out the dance cards,” quipped actress Scarlet Johansson, who like many that evening, perused the ballroom incognito in a Mardi Gras mask.
The masks were judged by a committee that included Cynthia Rowley, Mark Badgley and James Mischka. The gala’s theme was inspired by Hayworth’s 1937 movie “Old Louisiana.” Hayworth’s daughter, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, is the general chairman of the Alzheimer’s Association.
“It’s absolutely necessary that we find a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease,” said Walter Fischer, president and chief executive officer of Rolex Watch USA, who unlike many that night declined to wear a Mardi Gras mask.
“We aren’t eligible for prizes,” he said. “The winner gets a Rolex, so we shouldn’t participate.”
The night honored Donna Dixon Aykroyd for her efforts in the fight against the disease. Aykroyd was accompanied by husband Dan, who gave a special Blues Brothers performance, and other guests included Chevy Chase, Bryant Gumbel, Fran Drescher, Jane Elfers, Regis and Joy Philbin, Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford, John McEnroe, Patty Smyth, Richard Graziano and Denise Rich. The event raised about $1.7 million for the cause.
Meanwhile, more than 300 jewelry industry executives came out at a more subdued event on Wednesday to honor Arthur E. Reiner, chairman and chief executive officer of Finlay Fine Jewelry Corp., who received the 2003 ORT Community Achievement Award.
The event, held at the Grand Hyatt New York in Manhattan, raised more than $400,000 for the organization, which creates educational and training programs for young people around the world in locales including Israel, Brazil and South Africa. Reiner has been in the retail industry for more than 40 years, and was chairman and ceo of Macy’s East before joining Finlay in 1995.Other executives attending included Michael Kaplan, chapter president of the Jewelry Industry chapter of American ORT and president of Rocket Jewelry Box Inc.; Phyllis Bergman, ORT chapter chair and president of Mercury Ring Corp.; jewelry designer Jose Hess; Lowell Kwiat of Kwiat Inc., and Anna Martin, president of the Women’s Jewelry Association and an executive at ABN Amro Bank.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast