Designer Briefs

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fashion stars, TV personalities, and a handful of shirtless models descended upon the Intrepid Air & Space Museum on Monday evening to toast the Jeffrey Fashion Cares benefit gala and fashion show.  Founded in 2003 by Jeffrey Kalinsky of Jeffrey New York and Atlanta fame, the event was first held at the Meatpacking District store, and has since raised $4 million (not counting this evening) to support organizations that raise awareness of those living with HIV/AIDS and members of the LGBT community: the Hetrick-Martin Institute (home of the Harvey Milk School); Lambda Legal; the Gay Men’s Health Crisis; and the Point Foundation.

In turn, Jeffrey Fashion Cares has its unfailing support of the fashion community.  Adam Lippes, Peter Som, Joseph Altuzarra, and Jason Wu were among the designers who showed face to support the cause, bid on coveted auction items (such as Proenza Schouler’s PS1 bag and two tickets to Wu’s September runway show), and watch the menswear fashion show that closes out the evening.

After cocktails and some healthy bidding, the stylish crowd took their seats along the runway.  Nate Berkus, the evening’s host and JFC’s first Honorary Chair, rallied the audience to empty their pockets for the live auction items, after he self-deprecatingly joked: “I thought I was modeling but was then told that there was a height cut-off at 5’8″. But I’m here anyway.”  He also wasn’t above horsing around with the better known audience members.  Trying to auction off a VIP Mercedes Fashion Week Package, he joked with super-stylist Robert Verdi, “You could get to meet celebrities.” When that didn’t quite work, he chided honorary Real Housewife Simon Van Kempen (in tow with Alex McCord, natch): “Come on, you know how much you love fashion.”

After the live auction, the runway show kicked off to the tunes of Gaga and Britney.  In the high-wattage front row, AVENUEinsider spotted: models Sky Ferreira, Crystal Renn, and Genevieve Morton; Olympic Fencer and man-about-town Tim Morehouse; Sky Nellor; former New Jersey Housewife Dina Manzo; Derek Blasberg; and Elie Tahari’s Scott Currie.  The handsome male models represented in sleek suits and casual attire by Jeffrey-selected designers including Gucci, Lanvin, and Balenciaga.  But the Insider noticed that the men with the least amount of clothes on tended to get the most applause – a number of the models went shirtless, as the audience hooted and hollered and offered high-fives to the strutting males in tiny swimsuits.  And Kalinsky wouldn’t have it any other way. “I want everyone to have fun tonight,” he said. “But the success of these events and their huge popularity proves that our industry does care and really does want to help.”  If hunks in trunks are involved, all the better.


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