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Fashion Delivers Gala Focuses on Sandy Relief

The foundation changed this year's program to respond to the disaster.

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Fashion Delivers Gala

Fashion Delivers' annual “Fashion Has a Heart” gala on Nov. 7 was toned down from its usual swanky soiree and the mood was decidedly sober, as the charitable foundation concentrated on raising awareness and galvanizing attendees to donate funds for people affected by Hurricane Sandy.

"[Fashion Delivers] was born out of Hurricane Katrina," executive director Gail Garramone said of the New York-based organization, which provides clothing and home furnishings for families affected by natural disasters and poverty, "but this is a disaster [that affected us at home]."

A smaller-than-usual crowd — that included Clarins CEO Christian Courtin-Clarins and daughter Claire Courtin-Clarins, The Doneger Group CEO Abbey Doneger and Coach Inc. CEO Lew Frankfurt — arrived during Wednesday's nor'easter to fete honorees Lauren Bush Lauren, designer and co-founder of FEED; Stephen Ross, chairman and founder of Related Cos.; and Albert Boscov, chairman and CEO of Boscov's Department Store. Appetizers and desserts were served in lieu of the originally planned 700 steak dinners, which Fashion Delivers donated to Citymeals On Wheels for hurricane relief.

"We changed everything on the fly to [give] to those in need," said Michael Setola, vice chairman of Fashion Delivers and CEO of Tharanco Lifestyles LLC.

Added Garramone, "It didn't make sense to sit down and have this dinner when there are so many people in need right now. The Hurricane Sandy relief effort is where all our focus is."

Lauren Bush Lauren, who received a "Fashion Has a Heart" award for her work with FEED, said she was pleased with Fashion Delivers' approach to the event. "It feels so much better to not have a fancy sit-down dinner," the designer said. "I'm glad [the food] is going to people who need it. In these situations, people [in the fashion industry] really rally together, and tonight is an example of that."

Garramone told Footwear News the outpouring of support from footwear brands had been particularly heartening. "I'm so proud of the footwear industry," she said. "Skechers has already donated 500 pairs of shoes for us to give to victims of Sandy, and 250,000 more shoes are coming in December."