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Glittering Parsons Annual Benefit raises 2.6 million for student scholarships

By Jackie Mallon



Lauren Santo Domingo Photo Getty images for The New School

Parsons hosted its 73rd Annual Benefit on Monday night at The Glasshouse in Manhattan raising close to 2.6 million dollars which will go towards funding scholarships for future students of the highly regarded fashion program. Parsons believes that an investment in education is an investment in human potential and scholarship support is crucial to the school's ability to attract a diverse range of students from around the globe without regard for financial circumstances.

During the elegant dinner program hosted by TV personality and celebrity stylist, Brad Goreski, fashion luminaries were recognized including Tory Burch who said that many of her team were Parsons alumni. In her speech Burch thanked her mother for encouraging her to dream big but also mentioned mid-twentieth century designer Claire McCardell as inspiration for her mission of empowering women, whether through the simple act of putting pockets in dresses to her work with the Tory Burch Foundation providing female entrepreneurs with access to education, capital and digital resources. Said Burch, “Women are the best investment.”

Donna Karan and Tory Burch Photo Getty Images for The New School
Examples of work from graduates of the MFA Textiles and BFA Fashion Design programs were exhibited on mannequins, as wall hangings and as light sculptures in the area where guests sipped pre-dinner cocktails, while seven collections from the MFA Fashion Design & Society students were presented in a live runway show introduced by Ben Barry, Dean of the School of Fashion. “All of this work is only a fraction of the brilliance created by our students over the past 2 years across the 6 programs in the school,” said Barry. “Fashion is our superpower. Fashion can heal us.”

Parsons fundraises for fashion’s future talent

The evening also honored Lauren Santo Domingo, Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer, Moda Operandi, who was introduced by Derek Blasberg, head of fashion at Youtube. The pair reminisced about their days working in junior positions at Vogue together two decades before.

Other honorees recognized for their noteworthy impact on the design industry were Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation, a 16 billion dollar international philanthropy organization, and visual artist Kehinde Wiley who became the first African American artist to paint an official US presidential portrait when he captured President Barack Obama in 2018. Wiley was unfortunately unable to attend due to an unforeseen overseas travel delay.

Guests at the event included designers Donna Karan, Fernando Garcia, Creative Director Of Oscar de la Renta and Wes Gordon, Creative Director of Carolina Herrera; Samira Nasr, Editor in Chief of Harper’s Bazaar; Laurent Claquin, President of Kering Americas; Gena Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer, LVMH Inc and Ivan Bart, President of IMG.

A seat at the event is said to have cost 2,500 dollars and further money-raising opportunities were attended to by Christie's auctioneer, Lydia Fenet, who worked guests into a bidding frenzy over luxury items such as a Christian Dior tote containing 2 tickets to "The Queen’s Ball; A Bridgerton Experience"; a commissioned portrait by Rolling Stone photographer-to-the-stars Mark Seliger; and tickets to the Valentino haute couture show in Rome with luxury accommodation in the city and a three-night-stay in Tuscany thrown in.

Each bid reached into the tens of thousands. Securing diverse talent for the future of fashion is priceless.

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