Byline: David Moin

NEW YORK — The format has changed, but the goals are just as ambitious. Saks Fifth Avenue this week stages its third annual charity drive to benefit the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Fashion Targets Breast Cancer initiative.
It’s Saks’s biggest fund-raising effort, having raised $5 million in the past two years, and once again, there’s an impressive contingent of designers and corporate sponsors supporting the cause.
“The majority of Saks Fifth Avenue’s customers, associates and executives are women, and I think it is particularly fitting that we are engaged in fighting a disease that poses such an enormous threat to women’s health and, all too often, to women’s lives,” Christina Johnson, chairman and chief executive officer of Saks, said in a statement.
Previously, Saks had one big charity shopping evening to launch the campaign, then a weekend where all Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks Off 5th stores donated a percentage of sales to the cause.
However his time around, from Thursday through Sunday, Saks will have a series of special events to draw crowds and donate 2 percent of sales at all Saks Fifth Avenue stores nationwide, the Folio catalog and to FTBC. Also during the four-day period, 1 percent of sales from Off 5th will be donated.
Among this year’s new fund-raising formats, Saks has been auctioning off special products on, powered by eBay, including a limited-edition Judith Leiber minaudiere, a limited-edition Michael Kors sheared-mink scarf, and a Mercedes-Benz filled with the “ultimate trunk show” of merchandise and gift certificates. All proceeds from the auctions are donated to FTBC.
There also will be bidding on for one-of-a-kind designer T-shirts bearing the FTBC logo. In addition, a series of 32 one-of-a-kind designer plates are up for auction. Fendi did a mink-covered plate that sold for $1,025. Oscar de la Renta’s plate with a sketch went for the same price.
The main event is the afternoon of CFDA designer appearances, many ready to man their shops inside the Saks flagship Thursday — possibly as many as 100.
Also on Thursday, Saks will give out electronic gift cards that give discounts on total purchases of at least $250. The more you spend, the larger the discount.
On Friday evening, a cocktail party is scheduled at the flagship, with co-host Self magazine to benefit The Big BAM!, a breast cancer awareness organization focusing on women under 40.
FTBC kickoff parties in several branches are being underwritten by Mercedes-Benz and Danskin underwrote this year’s FTBC three-quarter T-shirt, with the “target” logo, priced at $25. All proceeds from this T-shirt will be donated.
Another sponsor, Continental Airlines, is flying designers to appear at branch stores, including Carolina Herrera, who is going to Atlanta; Mary McFadden, who will be at the Birmingham, Ala., store; and Narciso Rodriguez, scheduled to appear at the Boca Raton, Fla., unit.
This year, the campaign was moved from September to October, to coincide with National Breast Cancer Awareness month.