Between the potential overturn of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the recent debut of “The Pacific” on HBO, the retired aircraft carrier on the Hudson seemed a timely if provocative venue, but it wasn’t host Jeffrey Kalinsky’s first choice.
“It was [the event chairman’s] idea. They really wanted to host it here last year and I just said, ‘No,’” recalled the retailer, who worried the space was too large. The event had been held in Espace in years past. “They came back this year and wanted to do it on the Intrepid again and I was a naysayer still, but I thought it was important to curb my opinion.”
Preferences aside, the larger venue for the party-auction-men’s wear show generated record crowds and $525,000 for the Hetrick-Martin Institute, Lambda Legal Defense Fund, Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the Lawrence King Memorial Scholarship at the Point Foundation.
In seven years, the benefit, hosted by Kalinsky and cochaired by Dan Rothmann of D&G, Todd Sears of Credit Suisse and Chris Wile of Prada, has raised more than $3 million.
“Kudos [to the co-chairs] for having the courage to come here and make it even bigger,” said Kalinsky, who sported a look from Balmain with Hermès boots. “They wanted this space so the event could keep growing and they were right.”
The swirl of 1,200 (somewhat rain-soaked) guests came predominantly from the men’s fashion industry, and also included media executives Lorenzo Martone and Andy Cohen, actress Heather Matarazzo and top models like Sessilee Lopez and Hana Soukupova. Designers Peter Som and Prabal Gurung also made the rounds. Gurung kept receiving congratulations on his CFDA award nomination.
“I was so surprised,” he said. “Do people really campaign for these things?”