NEW YORK - Dedicated to the idea that fashion and music empower women, Catherine
Malandrino and Mary J. Blige joined forces Tuesday night for their first runway show for their FFAWN clothing label.
A crowd that included Estelle, Loulou de la Falaise, celebrity chef Todd English, museum curator Thelma Goldin, Robert Burke and Gloria Gelfand lingered over drinks in the sculpture garden before heading upstairs for the show.
Backstage, Malandrino and Blige each had a glass of wine and "all the nerves went away," Blige said. The Grammy winner also sang a capella for a select few to lighten the mood.
Preparing for a fashion show isn't all that different from gearing up for a concert, Blige mused. "You have to be passionate about everything you do. This collection builds on the success of our T-shirts which have sayings like 'I am love,' 'I am power,' 'I am life.' This is what we should be because we're women."
Cash-strapped but college-bound Bronx teenagers were the beneficiaries, with most of the 600 guests having paid upwards of $1,000 to attend.
Estelle said Blige has been an inspiration to her: "She's my role model and like my big sister. She has always shown me so much love. I listened to her music growing up. It is almost surreal being here tonight. She has always been a support for me and I will support the hell out of her.”
Estelle also seems to share Blige's design aspirations. Once she goes on tour this fall for her forthcoming album "All of Me," concert goers will be able to buy Estelle's customized capsule collection. "I want to create things you want to keep and wear - not another T-shirt,” she said.