Many inside the industry and out view the high-end runway show, live auction and philanthropic event as the kickoff to the fall fashion season. With such designer labels as Gucci, Celine, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Valentino, Dries van Noten, Saint Laurent Paris, Balenciaga, Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik, Jeffrey Fashion Cares is one hot ticket.
Jeffrey Kalinsky — founder, fashion icon and philanthropist — is the visionary behind the event, known best, perhaps, for his two namesake boutiques. One is in New York’s meatpacking district, the other at Atlanta’s Phipps Plaza. Jeffrey Fashion Cares showcases the latest looks twice a year in New York. In both cities, the show is celebrating 25 stylish years.
The New York event brings out the likes of Vogue’s Anna Wintour and such actors as Chloe Sevigny and Zachary Quinto — but it’s the Atlanta event that got everything started.
Kalinsky recently spoke with Fashionado, the fashion, lifestyle and trend destination, about the early years, when the event was called “Shoe Cares.”
Kalinsky started in the shoe business, so his charity fundraiser was all about shoes — fabulous shoes, of course. One of the great challenges in those early year, he says, was figuring out how to create an entertaining and engaging fashion show with … shoes. Anyone who knows Kalinsky knows he’s always one step ahead — no pun intended — and he figured it out.
When asked how he keeps the show fresh, he credits the hard work of his team. He’s too modest; his vision, aesthetic and drive are what keep his endeavors at the forefront of fashion. “Our job is to travel the world and be shoppers for our shoppers,” he says. “We try every single season to buy the most beautiful things in the world.”
On Aug. 28 you can see those beautiful things paraded on a 140-ft. runway. A favorite moment, besides the to-die-for looks, bags and shoes, comes at the finale walk where Kalinsky pauses on the runway to kiss his mother and receive from her a bouquet of roses.
By attending Jeffrey Fashion Cares, Kalinsky says, you participate in something good. The fundraiser has become the largest combined AIDS and breast cancer benefit in the country and, again this year, benefits Susan G. Komen of Greater Atlanta, the Atlanta AIDS Fund and and the Medical University of South Carolina.
Lila Hertz, who has chaired the event for 15 of its 25 years, shares an optimistic message, “We are so proud of the contribution we have made to the breast cancer and AIDS charities over the years. However, our work is not done. There is still much to do for these two diseases. So, we want everyone to join us to celebrate our silver anniversary and contribute to help us reach our goal of $1 million. Together we can do it!”