New Ways of Seeing: Dining in the Dark Fashion Ball

Friday, May 31, 2013

Not since the bacchanals of Hemingway and Fitzgerald has the iconic Plaza seen guests forego silverware in favor of their hands. Chanting, they fumblingly navigated seas of spilt wine in their best couture.

On May 22 the landmark hotel hosted the illuminating Fashion Ball: Dining in the Dark experience, a singular fundraising event thrown by Foundation Fighting Blindness. The exalted Grand Ballroom shut off its chandeliers and guests such as Simon Doonan, Jonathan Adler and New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara grappled with their entrees in pitch darkness. With heightened smell, hearing, taste and touch, and with tentative mouthfuls, guests enjoyed grilled entrecote of beef with an asparagus and baby carrot bundle andunderstandably, white over red was preferred to wash it down. I-Phone torch cheaters were met with caterwauls of reproof during the thirty-minute blackout; all the help needed was on hand from specially trained visually-impaired waiters.

Yet with all the novelty, jollity and gravy-smattered décolletages, the Dining in the Dark concept affords a unique channel of insight. It’s not about pity; it’s about actualizing the unimaginable experience of blindness. “The experience of Dining in the Dark opens guests’ eyes to what people like me, who have a visual impairment, deal with on a daily basis” says Dinner Co-Chair Evan Mittman. “Our hope is to shine light on the impact of retinal disease whilst raising finds for cutting-edge research” – and an admirable $425,000 was raised by the 250 attendees towards preventions, treatments and cures for retinal diseases.

Design hotshot Jonathan Adler and fashion maven Elaine Gold were honored with Visionary Awards designed by David Krakov 


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