HONORING ELIE: Those familiar with Elie Tahari’s personal story know that the designer grew up in a series of orphanages and overcame all odds to build his successful fashion label. On Tuesday night, that journey was remembered at the Worldwide Orphans Foundation’s annual benefit gala, where Tahari was an honoree alongside Cantor Fitzgerald chief executive officer Howard Lutnick and author and journalist Rula Jebreal.

WWO founder Jane Aronson recalled meeting the designer three years ago at the Glamour Women of the Year awards. “It was love at first sight,” she recalled. “I only wished I had met him when he was younger, I would have adopted and cared for him myself.”

Andrew Garfield
and Amy Poehler cohosted the event, which also featured a performance by Ann Hampton Callaway. “It was one of the most moving nights of my life,” Tahari said, “I never dreamed I would be honored for something that happened to me as a child, but if I can be an inspiration to someone who has been orphaned, it was all worth it.”

This story first appeared in the November 15, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.