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NEW YORK — A luxury boutique took up residence in Denise Rich’s Fifth Avenue penthouse on Wednesday for a private sale to benefit Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research.
Named for Rich’s daughter, who died in 1996 at age 27, the foundation encourages more effective therapies for patients with leukemia, lymphoma and related cancers.
Americana Manhasset, which collaborated with Gabrielle’s Angels, asked several of its upscale tenants to open mini shops in Rich’s home. About $2.3 million worth of merchandise was brought in for sale, including hot-off-the-runway products such as Dior handbags designed in collaboration with German artist Anselm Reyle. “It’s only available at the Madison Avenue Dior boutique,” said Danielle Merollo, Americana Manhasset’s personal shopper. “Our [Dior store] at Americana Manhasset wasn’t even allowed to have it.”
“I love the new flash of color and patterns,” said Rich, wearing a blue paisley Etro dress and white jacket that she planned to purchase, as well as items from Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton. “Finally, we can have some fun. This dress goes back to the Seventies. I used to mix patterns like crazy then.”
The private sale involves a three-day setup and includes moving the furniture out of the apartment, setting up a “back of the house” with inventory and a wrap station, and bringing in the fixtures. Each store sends merchandisers to set up their own mini stores. “The brands are very hands-on,” Merollo said. “They take pride in this.”
Prada’s new spring handbags, novelty shoes and ready-to-wear were strong sellers. The event last year sold $300,000 worth of merchandise and raised $75,000 for Gabrielle’s Angel. Rich said she expects Wednesday’s sale to be even better.
Daughters Ilona Rich Schacter and Daniella Rich Kilstock, who both live in London, sent Rich their shopping lists. The daughters, along with Rich, will host the first event of Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation U.K. on June 7 at the Battersea Power Station in South London. “Gabrielle graduated from Oxford and Daniella was born in London,” Rich said. “We’re very connected to the city.”