NEW YORK — The fashion industry came out Tuesday night for Candie’s Event to Prevent, a benefit to raise awareness of the consequences of teenage pregnancy.
The honorees were Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D., N.Y.), Seventeen magazine editor in chief Atoosa Rubenstein, Paula Zahn of CNN and The Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on sexual and reproductive health research, policy analysis and public education.
“We felt passionately to give back to our client base, to make a dramatic impact,” Neil Cole, Candie’s chief executive officer, said of the Candie’s Foundation, an organization established to educate America’s youth about the devastating consequences of teen pregnancy.
“If you could stop for one minute and think back to when you were a teenager and imagine you made one dramatic mistake,” he said. “That will happen to close to one million teens this year. The cure is solely about education.”
Among the guests at the event at Gotham Hall in Manhattan were Kenneth Cole, Petra Nemcova, Kimora Lee Simmons, Mark Badgley, James Mischka and Andrew Rosen, founder and president of Theory.
The dinner was punctuated by a live auction and performances by pop star Teddy Geiger, and Lionel Richie, who capped the night by singing “Brick House,” “Easy, Hello” and “Dancing on the Ceiling.” The event raised $750,000.
Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who plays Tony Soprano’s daughter on HBO’s series “The Sopranos,” presented an award to Rubenstein and said she was fortunate to grow up in a household where she felt comfortable speaking with her parents about sex.
“Lots of people are wary of it,” Sigler said. “Teens are having sex. It’s a reality. Let’s face it.”
Rubenstein said she was saddened that some Seventeen readers choose to tell her — not their parents — that they had become pregnant. “Sometimes I’m the first to know,” she said.
In high school, however, Rubenstein said teen pregnancy was not an issue, partly because of her strict parents of Iranian ancestry.
“I wasn’t allowed to be friends with boys, let alone date them,” she said. “Thanks to my unibrow and my werewolf legs, teen pregnancy was not an issue for me.”
Andrew Cuomo presented an award to Clinton, who was in Washington, D.C., and accepted via video. Clinton remarked that strides have been made with the issue. “In New York, teen pregnancy is down 10 percent,” she said.
Designer Kenneth Cole said his brother’s company does a great job of merging a social message with its brand, a difficult task.
“You have to ask yourself, ‘How do I make what I do bigger than it already is?'” he said. “You have to relate the message to the consumer.”