SOKOL HONORED: As a breast-cancer survivor, J.Mendel president and chief operating officer Susan Sokol delivered an incredibly frank speech after receiving the City of Hope’s Spirit of Life Award Monday at the Plaza Hotel. Unexpectedly called away on a business trip to Los Angeles, her former boss Vera Wang beamed in a salute, since she was unable to present the award as planned. Noting how courageous Sokol was in fighting the disease, the designer said, “Today is living proof of what kind of person you are.”

Sokol’s son Jake stepped in to honor his mother, who this summer will mark the fifth anniversary of her diagnosis. Recognized for her philanthropic efforts as well as her career, Sokol said proceeds from Monday’s fund-raiser would be for ongoing research in gene therapy related to ovarian cancer, in memory of her friend Joan Miller. Overall, the event raised $350,000 for City of Hope, with $150,000 of that going to the aforementioned research. Philanthropist Ann Levine and Jane Krakowski were also honored at the luncheon, which featured a J.Mendel fashion show. “You know, Bergdorf Goodman is having a trunk show after this,” the actress said.

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

Afterwards, Sokol buzzed over to the J.Mendel table, which included Gilles Mendel, his girlfriend Kyle Case and the company’s new design director, Dominique Bastard.

After thanking them all, she whispered to Mendel, “Gilles, I’m going to Bergdorf’s.”

“Sell, sell, sell,” Mendel said good-naturedly.

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