FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES

“Successful charity,” said Oscar de la Renta, whose long career of volunteerism was honored last week at Winternight ’97, “means having so many good friends.”
Some 1,200 friends, to be precise, who arrived for cocktails and dinner at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria. The event benefited The Lighthouse, a charity for the vision impaired.
During the awards presentation, Saks chairman Philip Miller recounted to the audience that de la Renta was initially reluctant to be singled out for the award, but after a few private words between the two men — “Saks will never buy another dress from you if you don’t do it” — de la Renta consented.
De la Renta was presented the award by honorary co-chairs Bill Blass and Barbara Walters, who told anecdotes about the designer’s new house in his native Dominican Republic.
“You should all get very friendly with Oscar,” Walters laughed, “so he’ll invite you to visit.”
In his acceptance speech, de la Renta sympathized with the audience about the number of invitations and requests for help that arrive with the daily mail and thanked them for not filing the Winternight ’97 invitation in the wastebasket. The evening raised over $1.2 million.
Annette Green, president of the Fragrance Foundation, also received a special tribute for her efforts on behalf of the organization.
“It is like high-test for the engine,” she said in her thank you remarks. “It makes you want to do more and more.”

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