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August 3, 2011 10:27 AM

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Shopping for a Cause

It is one of the many unpleasant truths of life that the people who most often receive discounts are those who need them the least....

It is one of the many unpleasant truths of life that the people who most often receive discounts are those who need them the least. The forgivable part of this is that sometimes it works out to everyone's benefit: take Super Saturday (and its tickets, which retail at around $500 and up for a day of shopping) and its unquestionably good cause, Ovarian Cancer Research. They also provide a goodie bag worthy of raves, the contents of which would take this entire blog to list. For these reasons, one can forgive all manner of things: crowding, jostling, blazing heat, the points of some very nicely-tanned and well-exercised elbows, aggressive and impressive displays of wealth -- these are the natural concessions of an outdoor shopping bazaar of generously-discounted designer goods with a guaranteed paparazzi presence.

Does one ever really get used to seeing over 20 shopping bags hauled out to a parking lot and then unceremoniously thrown into the back of a white Hummer by a single woman under 30? Maybe not. But this is "the Hamptons" after all, and you can't expect less for the last weekend of July. You should simply be impressed that she made it to her car in towering heels without wiping out.

During the day of Super Saturday's festivities, I became aware of several things, seemingly all at once. The first was Kris Humphries and his sudden, intense popularity.

He seems to have taken to this quite nicely, thank you very much, and his procession down the step-and-repeat took maybe the longest of everyone (clearly Humphries is no slouch, as other guests included Kelly Ripa, Donna Karan, Kelly Rutherford, Christy Turlington, Emma Roberts and her alleged excellently named boyfriend Chord Overstreet and so on and so forth). Humphries seems quite pleased about the tabloid fervor surrounding his upcoming merger with the family Kardashian, which is lucky, because I don't think anybody could take that job without a certain level of media-awareness.

The second thing was the level of dedication of some of the lower-level designer attachés present, namely the gently perspiring girl I met toward the entrance. She was employed by a fashion company (that will, by request, remain anonymous) to wait by the end of the red carpet with personalized swag for celebrities that her company had guessed might attend. Blake Lively's bag was on top of a large-ish pile, emblazoned "Size 4" with a helpful yellow stickie note. I had not been informed of Blake Lively's rumored attendance, so expressed curiosity about the bag's contents, and what happened to them if Lively didn't show (which she in fact, didn't). My intrepid WWD photographer joked, "I thought she'd be a size 2," to which the swag-wrangler turned a deep shade of purplish-red and begged us to forget what we'd seen. "Don't photograph the bag, or anything, please," she caterwauled, "I don't want to embarrass anybody. She's thin, Blake, you know? It's her boobs." To this I nodded sympathetically, though I don't know who I was sympathizing with -- Blake Lively's large-ish chest or this girl, who very well may have become manic with heatstroke, and to the best of my knowledge, stuck to her post until the close of the event, some six hours later.

The third thing of note was the frequency with which strangers took great pains to tell me how impressive the turn-out for the event was, as if I had anything to do with its organization. My go-to response was a sort of combination of a complacent nod and praise of the cause, though from my final perch, settled within the shade of the San Ambroeus cafe section (where the desserts were beautiful and perfect and melting very rapidly and everything was free) for the sake of variety I wondered aloud one of those questions that's usually better not to. I asked the latest enthusiast whether she thought people were actually there because they cared about ovarian cancer or because they cared about celebrities of varying importance and tabloid presence and cheaper prices on designer labels. "Who cares?" this person, quite rightly, responded. "Everyone here spends money all the time and for much stupider reasons. At least today it's going towards helping people."

I cannot say how many people at Super Saturday XIV were thinking about ovarian cancer while they shopped and schlepped their loot, because there's no way of knowing. I can say that the event raised about $3.5 million for an extremely worthy cause, which is very commendable. I can also say that I met a bevy of extremely interesting people, some of whom were friendly and unworried about filling their arms and vehicles with wares and still others who raced up and down aisles of designer stalls, and some who stripped nude without pause to slip an endless number of cocktail dresses over their heads in the open air (these people also often asked hapless volunteers to zip them up). I also got elbowed a few times and I forgot my goodie bag. But there's always next year.

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