One of the things that makes New York—and therefore, its fashion community—so remarkable is its commitment to philanthropy, and this week, society, industry, and famous folk alike hit the town for the greater good.
It all started Sunday night at The LGBT Center, a crucial part of New York’s LGBT advocacy and support network. The event was Fashion Centered, an annual coming-together of LGBT-minded do-gooder fashion folk. Originally the brainchild of Barneys CEO Mark Lee, Theory CMA Siddhartha Shukla and Kering USA head Laurent Claquin, the event is now a casual Sunday night dinner that raises north of $300,000 for The Center’s ongoing services and activities. When The Center’s Glennda Testone gave her remarks, she thanked Andreja Pejic, who was in attendance, for her leadership in the trans equality movement.
I especially loved running into Prabal Gurung walking up the stairs from cocktails in The Center’s West Village garden to dinner on one of the upper floors. “Who is that girl in that chic, chic dress?” he whispered. It was Mia Moretti, in a drop-dead gorgeous Gucci gown replete with sequins and trompe l’oeil bows.
Monday night, I ran into Lena Dunham. She was being honored at a fundraiser for ArtsConnection, a non-profit that funds arts education for some 120 public schools. “Obviously, growing up with two artist parents I was always surrounded by the arts,” Dunham told Fashion Unfiltered. “But a really amazing memory I have about arts education was this teacher I had at Friends Seminary named John, and he had HIV. At Christmastime, we would decorate bags for God’s Love We Deliver, which delivers meals to homebound people, many of whom have HIV. So to create something to be brought to the homes of people who were sick and was also so meaningful to our teacher was really special.”
On a lighter note, Dunham recalled another brush with arts education, at Saint Ann’s high school in Brooklyn. “It was this really progressive school where you had arts teachers teaching both arts and sciences. Arts teachers should teach arts. They should not teach sciences. Because now I can’t do math.”
Dunham’s pal Andrew Rannells, who plays her bff on-camera in Girls, said it was a privilege to be Dunham’s off-camera friend as well. “It really isn’t hard to play her friend,” he said. Our conversation drifted towards Memorial Day plans. “Well, we film [Girls] during the summer, so holidays usually catch me off guard. I realized this week I have no plans for Memorial Day, so if someone wants to invite me somewhere, I’m sure I’ll be available!” Being too busy to make your own holiday plans? I thought that was pretty chic.
Tuesday night was all about the Gordon Parks Foundation awards dinner. Mr. Parks was one of the greatest African American photojournalists and artists of the twentieth century, and his eponymous foundation carries on his legacy today by promoting awareness of his work, and providing arts-related scholarships to inner city children. The event draws a pretty A-list crowd: Hilary Rhoda, Constance and Jacquelyn Jablonski (both models, but no relation, oddly enough), artist Daniel Arsham, Janelle Monáe, Alicia Keys, Swizz Beats, and Usher were in the mix. Public School designers Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow, who grew up together as inner-city children in Queens, were among the honorees. “Art can change the world. So to be honored tonight in Mr. Parks’ legacy is like, shit, we have our work cut out for us,” Osborne said. “But it’s important to let the kids know that there are people out there who were just like them. That the kids, too, can be leaders someday.”