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NEW YORK — Francisco Costa printed, Sylvia Heisel stitched and Peter Som stenciled.

The designers are among more than a dozen, including Oscar de la Renta, Ronaldus Shamask and Carmen Marc Valvo, who created kites for the Fashion Center Business Improvement District’s first annual arts festival. The kites are up for auction to support local not-for-profit organizations.

“A kite is a symbol of hope,” said Shamask, who let his 7-year-old daughter, Arianne, paint his kite with a beauty theme and yellow streamers. “Some projects are so difficult to participate in, but this was so easy, and so fun.” He added that his daughter told him her design “was all about the hair.”

Heisel, whose kite featured a delicate, black laser-cut fabric left over from a dress she designed, agreed.

“It’s just so lighthearted and for a good cause,” she said. “Plus, everybody in my office read ‘The Kite Runner,’ so when we got the kite, we just thought we had to do it.”

The kites are on display for auction in the lobby of 1411 Broadway in the heart of the fashion district until Nov. 2. Bids can be placed in person or online at Proceeds will benefit two nonprofit groups: Materials for the Arts, which provides art supplies to the New York City public school system, and Free Arts NYC, which provides art outlets for abused and neglected children.

The FCBID, pleased with the turnout this year, is hopeful about next year’s auction. The group shipped plain, nylon kites to 100 designers and gave them two weeks to create a design. Thirteen designed kites were sent back, and there were “so many phone calls [from] designers who said they wished they could contribute but were out of town or busy right then,” said Barbara Randall, executive director of the FCBID.

“We don’t expect to make a ton of money this year, but it’s a great way to get the design community involved in our work,” she said. “The kites are so spontaneous and so whimsical. It adds a lightness that’s missing in our world right now.”

This story first appeared in the October 25, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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