Daryl Simon, Michele Herbert, Naeem Khan, Nina Garcia and Chele Chiavacci flank model wearing the Naeem Khan Purple Dress.


PURPLE PASSION: On Tuesday evening, Naeem Khan unveiled the first Naeem Khan Purple Dress in honor of the Alzheimer’s Association Rita Hayworth Gala. Khan has designed a custom purple gown, the official color of the Alzheimer’s cause, that will be auctioned Oct. 27 at the gala at Cipriani 42nd Street to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

The designer said he hopes that the fashion industry will get more involved in this cause. “It’s so rampant,” he said. “I’ve lost too many friends to this horrific disease, and it’s my hope this purple dress will help raise awareness and funds that will lead to an end to the destruction of Alzheimer’s causes,” said Khan, who was honored at the Rita Hayworth Gala in 2010 with his wife, Ranjana.

Khan’s dress, which has a suggested retail price of $12,000, is a purple water-lily all-over beaded short-sleeved gown with illusion bodice and open back. Bidding will begin at $5,000. A surprise guest will be wearing the one-of-a-kind gown at the gala, which anticipates more than 550 people. NBC’s Willie Geist is the evening’s master of ceremonies.

Khan presented the dress at his West 36th Street showroom, along with Nina Garcia, creative director of Marie Claire and a member of the gala steering committee; Daryl Simon, the 2015 gala chair, and Michele Herbert, the 2015 Rita Hayworth Award recipient.

Herbert, who created the Michele and Larry Herbert Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s in Women Fund under the auspices of the Alzheimer’s Association Women’s Alzheimer’s Research Fund, said no one was paying attention to women and Alzheimer’s. “I said to my husband (Larry Herbert, former chairman and chief executive officer of Pantone Inc., who is also being honored], ‘I need to put your money where my mouth is,’” she said. She said 65 percent of Alzheimer’s patients are women, and one in six has a chance of getting the disease.

“People don’t want to talk about women in their 50s and 60s getting Alzheimer’s. I want people to start to talk about this,” she said.

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