Byline: Lisa Lockwood

NEW YORK — Seventh on Sale is back, and the shopping extravaganza’s goal is to raise $6 million for AIDS relief.
The event will take place at the 69th Regent Armory at Lexington Avenue and 26th Street here from Thursday, May 18 through Sunday, May 21, with an “invitation-only” dinner and shopping event on Wednesday, May 17.
An estimated 94 booths will feature women’s and men’s fashions, accessories and home furnishings. To date, about $5 million worth of merchandise has been committed. All proceeds from 7th on Sale go directly to the CFDA-Vogue Initiative/New York City AIDS fund that benefits various AIDS educational and informational programs, both nationally and in the metropolitan New York area.
“Basically what we’re doing is opening up a department store for five days,” said Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour, co-chair of the newest edition of 7th on Sale.
Besides Wintour, who is organizing the gala dinner, the event’s chairs are Calvin Klein, who’s in charge of the advertising and promotion committee; Donna Karan, who’s running the merchandising committee, and Ralph Lauren, who heads the design and sales operations committee.
The original 7th on Sale, which took place here in November 1990, raised $4.2 million for various AIDS programs. The second 7th on Sale, in San Francisco, was held in September 1992 and raised and distributed $2.6 million through DIFFA, the Design Industries Foundation for AIDS, for Bay Area AIDS organizations.
The goal of the next benefit has been expanded to raise in excess of $6 million. Vogue has contributed $500,000 to underwrite the event.
“I don’t think I ever got off the high from the first event,” said Donna Karan. “There are so many ways to raise money, but for me, this brings the community and the industry together.”
In its second engagement here, 7th on Sale will have several new features, including:
An 800-square-foot home furnishings section, organized by Vogue’s former style editor Hamish Bowles, who just last week was named the magazine’s European editor at large, and interior designers Stephen Sills and James Huniford. So far, they’ve received $500,000 worth of merchandise, including Frank Gehry chairs, a Peter Marino couch, Gianni Versace plates and an 18th-century commode.
An ad campaign, photographed by Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber, Arthur Elgort, Steven Meisel and Patrick Demarchelier, which will appear pro bono in various fashion magazines. The campaign is being produced by CRK Advertising, Calvin Klein’s in-house ad agency. T-shirts are also being created with the slogan, 7th on Sale: The Return to New York.
A documentary that will be simulcast on MTV and VH-1 that will track the recipients of the funds raised at the first 7th on Sale. It will be aired 10 times between May 16 and May 21, and will be interspersed with “The Goods,” a home shopping segment where unisex clothing, designed by Tommy Hilfiger, will be sold. The merchandise will be manufactured by Hilfiger’s company and will contain a message on it to raise AIDS awareness. Hilfiger will donate all the clothing, while MTV and VH-1 will underwrite the documentary and the air time, said MTV’s Gabe Doppelt. Rock stars are expected to appear in the home shopping spots. The benefit will also be promoted heavily on both channels prior to the event.
A 7th on Sale “outsert,” exclusively sponsored by General Motors Corp., that will be polybagged with the May issue of Vogue. It will contain fashion photographs of many of the items available at 7th on Sale as well as a floor plan of the booths. Some 250,000 copies will be distributed in the New York area.
A sit-down dinner for 800, catered by Glorious Foods, that’s expected to raise $1 million. Tickets start at $1,200 for the dinner. There will also be a junior committee dessert, with tickets at $200.
A raffle, organized by Candy Pratts Price, Vogue’s fashion director/accessories shoes, that will contain prizes such as a Cadillac, valued in excess of $35,000; seven loose diamonds from the Diamond Information Center ($26,000); a Fendi blond mink coat ($30,000); a Piaget gold “Dancer” watch ($12,000); a Harry Winston pavA diamond whistle ($7,500); a Louis Vuitton six-piece luggage set ($6,500), and a Bulgari gold, steel and rubber watch ($3,600).
Besides the private selling periods, there will be a dozen 2 1/2-hour selling sessions during the four-day benefit. Some 1,300 people will be admitted to each selling session. After each session, the booths will be replenished with new merchandise.
Admission is $20, up from $12 in 1990. Tickets will be made available through Ticketmaster and are expected to go on sale during the 7th on Sixth shows later this month.
Extra-large booths will feature fashion from Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. There will also be booths from Bill Blass, Ellen Tracy, Andrea Jovine, Anne Klein, Oscar de la Renta and Adrienne Vittadini.
Other booths will contain merchandise from Michael Kors, Richard Tyler, Gemma Kahng and Badgley Mischka, as well as a shared booth for Isaac Mizrahi, Anna Sui and Todd Oldham. Betsey Johnson, Marc Eisen, Cynthia Steffe, Jessica McClintock, Tracy Reece, James Purcell, Michael Leva and Sylvia Heisel are also donating clothing.
Men’s wear will be supplied by Hilfiger, Polo, Karan and Klein, in addition to Alexander Julian, Joseph Abboud and Joe Boxer.
Accessories booths will house merchandise from Carolee, Robert Lee Morris, Kleinberg/Sherrill, Patricia Underwood, Judith Leiber, Eric Javits, Carlos Falchi and Carey Adina, as well as Paloma Picasso, Kenneth Cole and Joan & David. In addition, Barneys New York, The Gap and Banana Republic will also have booths.
According to Wintour, several apparel firms have committed up to $500,000 worth of merchandise. The donations will consist of items not currently on sale in the stores — such as original samples, one-of-a-kind pieces, overstocks, irregulars and previous season’s goods. It will also include jewelry and shoes from designers’ fashion shows.
“Imagine going to a giant flea market of samples,” said Karan, whose fashions will include beaded and sequined clothing, embroidered pieces, fabrics and scarves.
According to Peter Strom, vice chairman of Polo, each company will price its own merchandise with special bar-coded tickets, donated from Monarch Ticket Co. All the merchandise will then be shipped to one of Polo/Ralph Lauren’s N.J. warehouses. During the event, trailers will be positioned outside the Armory, and Polo executives and a pool of volunteers will move the merchandise from the warehouse to the trailers each night. After each shift, new merchandise will be moved into the booths. Polo is also supplying all the cash registers.
“We’re trying to make it more efficient,” said Wintour, noting that some of the congestion problems from the previous event are being ironed out. For example, 7th on Sale will hire more trained cashiers, and use 38 cash registers, versus 18 last time, to make the payment process more orderly. There will also be more space for payment.
Recalling the first 7th on Sale, Wintour said: “Everyone kind of got very emotional, and everyone wanted to come back; it was so extraordinary. It was the first time the fashion industry ever got together to do something really big to raise money for AIDS…especially for something that affects our industry.”