INDUSTRY PARTIES GET ROLLING
Byline: David Moin / Eric Wilson
NEW YORK — Well before the Christmas windows went up, the party spirit consumed the industry.
It began over a month ago with a black-tie birthday party for licensing legend, former Izod president and octogenarian Chip Rieger aboard the Diplomat yacht, thrown by his wife, headhunter Terre Simpson. Just last week there was a spirited Barbie doll charity auction at Jeffrey New York, the store charging up the fashion scene in Chelsea.
Rieger’s party drew a crowd of 100, including industry veterans Mohan Murjani and Zachary Solomon, and a solemn promise from Rieger: “I going to throw boat parties for my next 10 birthdays.”
On land, one of the largest events of the season centered on Christina Johnson, Saks Fifth Avenue’s vice chairman and soon to be ceo, who was honored by the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund at a benefit at the Grand Hyatt raising $900,000 for the fund.
“I am fortunate to be a member of an industry that has long encouraged and rewarded the contributions of women,” Johnson told the crowd of 700. “However, I am also deeply aware that the equal opportunity that I have experienced throughout my retailing career is the exception rather than the rule.
“Over the last three decades, the role of women in business has vastly changed for the better — and so much of this has been due to the dedication and commitment of the Now Legal Defense and Education Fund, she added.
“As the mother of two young girls, tonight’s endeavors are particularly meaningful to me. I have every confidence that with your continued support, NOW will succeed in once and for all leveling the playing field for my Katie and Elizabeth–and their generation of women in business.”
Along with Johnson, Lodewijk de Vink, chairman and ceo of Warner-Lambert, and Stephen Hammerman, vice chairman of Merrill Lynch received Equal Opportunity Awards from the Fund.
In addition, Peter Georgescu, chairman and ceo of Young and Rubicam, received the Muriel Fox Award for Communications Leadership Toward a Just Society.
The same week, Jeffrey Kalinsky, owner of Jeffrey New York, teamed up with Mattel’s Barbie division to create 10 doll-size copies of designer dresses from the spring 2000 collections, including Michael Kors’s suntan cashmere halter gown, a paneled denim fit-and-flare dress from Marc Jacobs and John Bartlett’s red ruffled cocktail dress.
The looks were unveiled at a reception at the store, at 449 West 14th Street here last Tuesday, shown on Barbie dolls modeled after the 1959 originals.
The clothes are being auctioned to benefit the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which provides counseling and shelter for gay and lesbian youth and operates the Harvey Milk High School here, the nation’s first alternative high school for teenagers who are unable to complete their education due to anti-gay bias.
Mattel made 34 one-of-a-kind Barbies that are also being auctioned in the store, where they are featured in vignettes that show them shopping around Jeffrey.
Their gowns, as well as the designer miniatures, were created by Robert Best, senior staff designer of Barbie Collectibles.
Jeffrey is accepting bids on the dolls, by silent auction, through Dec. 16.
At the opening reception, the dolls garnering the highest bids were Kors’s halter, Bartlett’s ruffled number, a Courreges minidress and a black cashmere off-the-shoulder sweater with a gold skirt from Lucien Pellat-Finet, each of which had attracted bids of $600.