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ATLANTA — If Jeffrey Fashion Cares is any indication, both luxury fashion and philanthropy are alive and well, despite talk of economic and retail malaise.
This story first appeared in the August 27, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Over 800 people shelled out $500 a ticket and braved a stormy Monday night for the 16th annual fashion event, held at 55 Allen Plaza in downtown Atlanta. Fashion Cares has become the city’s signature fall fashion kickoff and, with a live auction and corporate donations, this year raised over $700,000 for AIDS and breast cancer charities. A similar event, held in New York in the spring, is now in its fifth year.
Isaac Mizrahi, his flight delayed due to weather, made a personal appearance, but returned immediately following the show on a private jet to New York. Among other things, he’s preparing for fashion week; awaiting the release of his new book, “How to Have Style,” and polishing up his cabaret act, now in its 10th year at New York’s Joe’s Pub.
Not to mention his upcoming gig as the new creative director of Liz Claiborne, a topic that, along with his current contract with Target, which ends this year, he deemed off-limits.
He did, though, talk about his hectic schedule: “It’s all so fun and all so awful.”
Though he complained of too much travel, not wanting to leave his dog and working too much, Mizrahi called the Jeffrey show his “fun night off,” adding he planned to celebrate with a single malt whisky.
“I’m glad to get away from [designing] the collections, if only for a night,” he said. “Sometimes you just have to get away from it, and throw it up to the gods.”
Mizrahi’s appearance was the second time a major designer added glamour to the Jeffrey event, after Oscar de la Renta attended last year. Along with runway looks from the fall luxury ready-to-wear, sportswear and shoe collections being carried by Jeffrey, the show included Atlanta’s Linda Loudermilk’s “luxury eco” designs, and selections by alumni designers from Savannah College of Art and Design.
The fashion community, including Manolo Blahnik, a $15,000 sponsor, and Prada, Jil Sander and Gucci, all $10,000 sponsors, contributed a total of $165,000 to the event. Officials said donations from corporate sponsors, including Delta, Coca-Cola and H&M, were up 36 percent over last year.
In an interview, Jeffrey Kalinsky said business is “great, across the board, with no slowdown,” due to the economy. Still, he admitted his buying this year was a bit more selective than usual.
“We were careful with our fall buy, to select things that have a strong emotional appeal, and trigger strong desirability in our clients,” he said.