NEW YORK — The National Mother’s Day Council annual luncheon will have an illustrious lineup of honorees: Designer Betsey Johnson, beauty diva Bobbi Brown, Grammy Award-winning soprano Renée Fleming, Broadway legend Chita Rivera and Karen Katz, president and chief executive officer of the Neiman Marcus Group.
An addition to the 28th annual event is the selection by Ladies Home Journal of Cindi Steele, a youth mentor, as an All-Star Mom.
More than 500 people are expected at today’s luncheon at the Pierre hotel. All charitable contributions from the event will benefit Women in Need, which serves underprivileged women and children, said Thia Breen, chairwoman of the event and president of Estée Lauder, The Americas. The council has raised $16 million for various charities, Breen said.
Several honorees shared personal insight on how they have combined a career and motherhood. Johnson recalled one of her biggest challenges was working as a full-time designer throughout her pregnancy. Her daughter, Lulu, became her muse and often preferred to sleep on a cutting table than in her bedroom.
“The most intense and satisfying times were when I would come home and cry because I was so tired, and she would pet my head,” Johnson said. “But the most incredible time was after I received the positive results of a biopsy for breast cancer, which I received one hour before the company Christmas party. I faked my way through the party, but I knew I had to tell Lulu, and said, ‘Lulu, this is the biggest favor of my life. Don’t leak it.’ She never told anybody. I lied about it until the CFDA let me tell the world.”
Now, Johnson said her second biggest joy is her granddaughter, Layla, whom she baby-sits “as often as I can.”
Brown’s number-one tip for moms: “I have one calender, not two. I make sure I put all the school vacations, half days and school holidays down before I schedule my work for the season.”
As to whether her sons — Dylan, Dakota and Duke — appreciate her juggling being a full-time mom and a world-famous makeup stylist, Brown said: “It’s not their job to get it. I’m sure when they’re older, they will. At their ages, seven, 14 and 16, they don’t think I’m cool or amazing. They think I’m annoying.”
Katz said, “My 16-year-old son, Alex, is my pride and joy. We all try to juggle things all at the same time. Neiman Marcus has provided a great environment for me to get to the level I’m at, and at the same time be a great mother. I am very disciplined. I get out of here at a decent hour so my husband, son and I can have dinner together.”