“Everyone in fashion wants to be in beauty, everybody in beauty wants to be in fashion,” said Tommy Hilfiger on Thursday evening. He was arm in arm with his wife, Dee Ocleppo, who dressed to the theme of the night: the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s annual Hot Pink Party.
Held at the Park Avenue Armory, the party was hosted by Elizabeth Hurley. Co-chairs included Hilfiger, Ocleppo, Aerin Lauder, Jane Lauder, Kinga Lampert, Donna Karan and Vera Wang, and Dennis Basso, Paul Shaffer and LL Cool J were among the 1,100 guests. Sir Elton John is usually tapped as the night’s special performer, but as he was preparing for his three-year farewell tour, Mary J. Blige stepped in, rousing quite the reaction from guests, including “Orange Is the New Black” actress Lea DeLaria.
“I get to see Mary J. Blige for free, drink free Champagne and eat rubber chicken? I’m happy,” DeLaria said. “I do have a picture with her already because we’re both on Netflix shows, so we had a picture taken together when she came to our first Netflix party. The kicker was she ran up to me to get it and I lost my mind. I fangirled like a little queen.”
On the carpet, Hurley shared that Evelyn Lauder, who founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in 1993, gave her her first-ever mammogram. “She gave it to me for my 40th birthday,” Hurley explained. “She made me promise her that I would have one around my birthday forever.”
One of the night’s big reveals, according to Dr. Larry Norton, was a video on immunotherapy. “It’s a new approach to altering the immune system to destroy the cancer,” he explained. “We’ve got good preliminary data in the laboratory and a few patients. We want to do a launch trial and we’re hoping to raise a lot of money tonight to do the launch trial. It could totally be revolutionary in terms of the way all cancer is treated.” The foundation ultimately raised over $5.5 million that night.
William Lauder, executive chairman of The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., shared some insights on how the business is evolving. “The Chinese consumer is making a huge difference,” he said. “The luxury, higher end is really exploding.”
Clinique, he added, is “more overexposed to North America than many of our other brands.” He continued to note that North American retail in particular is “a little more challenged,” and though Clinique has traction in Sephora, “Sephora is suffering, too.”
“They’re in the same malls as all the others,” he said of Sephora. “If you’ve been to malls lately, there’s just not as many people as there used to be.”