Category Archives: Fundraising

Fighting Lupus is the Fashion for May Lupus Awareness Month

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More than 300 New York’s leading “bag” ladies gathered April 25th at the fourth and largest annual S.L.E. Lupus Foundation’s New York Bag Ladies Luncheon in NYC.  The gala raised $250,000 for those struggling with the devastating disease lupus. Kicking off May Lupus Awareness Month, the event included a silent auction of 140 donated designer and celebrity handbags.

Two outstanding women were honored for their long-time support of the work of the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation: Matilda Raffa Cuomo, Former First Lady of New York State, Founder and Chair of Mentoring USA National/International and author of the new book The Person Who Changed My Life, and Mary E. Belle, President, Licensing at The Jones Group which includes iconic lifestyle brands such as Anne Klein, Jones New York and Nine West.

Serving as Mistress of Ceremonies, opera legend and S.L.E. Lupus Foundation Board member Jessye Norman honored Mary Belle. Introduced by good friend and S.L.E. Lupus Foundation Board President Richard DeScherer, Governor Mario Cuomo had the special privilege of presenting his wife with her award.

Board member Jennie DeScherer presented the most moving honor of the afternoon. In memory of the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation’s co-founder who died this month at nearly 102, the Foundation’s New Investigator Grant Program will be named: The Morrie Golick New Investigator Awards in Lupus.

Who’s Who of Attendees Touched by People with Lupus
In addition to Governor Cuomo, several members of their family including Dr. Margaret Cuomo, Maria Cuomo Cole and Cristina Greeven Cuomo were among the audience recognizing Matilda’s contributions. Additional S.L.E. Lupus Foundation Board members in attendance include Founder and Vice President Susan Golick; Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg, wife of Senator Frank Lautenberg and Michelle Gadsden-Williams, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Credit Suisse. Also from the Foundation’s Board were Fern Tessler; Betsey Selkowitz; Carol Weisman and Kate Kelly.

Working Miracles
The event turned generously donated designer and celebrity handbags into pocket-books full of miracles; a silent auction raised funding for the science needed to find a cure for lupus as well as the necessary services to help patients live with the disease day-to-day.

“The funds raised today literally work miracles for those faced with lupus,” said Margaret Dowd, Executive Director, S.L.E. Lupus Foundation. Dowd also announced that the 2012 Life Without Lupus Gala will be held November 19 and will honor the very active Foundation Board member and noted philanthropist Fern Tessler.

About Lupus
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or lupus, is a chronic, complex and serious autoimmune disease affecting more than 1.5 million Americans. In lupus, the immune system, which is designed to protect against infection, creates antibodies that attack the body’s own tissues and organs — the kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, blood, skin, and joints. Lupus is difficult to diagnose, difficult to treat, and a leading cause of premature cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and stroke among young women.

10th Annual Pet Peeves Gala, Woodbury, NY March 20, 2012

The night sizzled as guests enjoyed a lavish buffet dinner and colorful cocktails. The room was filled with exquisitely designed animal-themed decor, from ice sculptures to creatively “carved” dogs on the serving stations. Très magnifique!! There was a huge array of beautifully wrapped raffle baskets, with all ticket sales going to benefit animals in need on Long Island.

The Pet Peeves’ 10th Anniversary Celebration took place on Tuesday, March 20, at the Crest Hollow Country Club. Janine Dion’s production was utterly delightful: chicly decorated, scores of stylish Long Islanders, an abundantly friendly and warm vibe, and catered with extensive choices of fine food. Scores of reasons why it is worth the time, effort and funds to make sure you put this on your calendar for next year!!

Enjoy these images of just some of the beautifully dressed (and fun!) attendees, while everyone there enjoyed the colorful lounge theme, decadent food, extensive bar with NO lines and outrageous display of raffle baskets.

JoAnn Winkhart, Corporate Relations Development Director of FOUR Food Studio & Cocktail Salon and K. Pacho Cocina & Tequila, is ALWAYS dressed so pretty!

Yolanda Giunta of East Rockaway is styling a Ralph Lauren top and skirt and Jimmy Choo stilettos - Wow!!

Pet Peeves volunteers Monet Lee rocks a sporty striped dress while Nikki Friedman looks ready for spring in an asymmetrical chic blue acetate dress.

Laura Hartman and Joanne Hutchins from the 501(c)(3) breast cancer charity "Moms Who Kick" were on hand to show off their fabulous figures and the results that avid physical fitness coupled with a nutritious diet can keep women strong and avoid certain cancers.

This gentleman was happy to pose for Fashion Societé to exemplify what a well-dressed man wears . . . )

These ladies love their shoes! Kayla sports a one-shoulder pretty printed pink top and black pencil skirt paired with purple t-strap peeptoe heels- sweet! Marianne's bright body-skimming shirred dress is a great match for her multi-colored stilettos with lime heels - You go girls!

Great evening out, where animals in need were supported generously on Long Island. Pet Peeves, Inc. is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization, is completely volunteer-driven. They have a hands-on board, wonderful volunteers and no paid staff members. The proceeds of ALL efforts go to the animals! Check out their website to learn more about Pet Peeves at:

Michelle O marches into Manhattan

With her husband’s party facing an uphill battle in the here-before-you-know-it midterm elections, First Lady Michelle Obama could at least count on support among her fashionable base Monday evening.

Obama and her vice presidential counterpart Jill Biden jetted to New York for a cocktail-hour fund-raiser at Donna Karan’s Central Park West penthouse, where a host of New York designers, including Michael Kors, Diane von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, Georgina Chapman, Nanette Lepore and Isaac Mizrahi, gathered to show their support.

The First Lady arrived shortly after 5 p.m. and was quickly hustled inside by Secret Service agents. Barricades and some preexisting scaffolding on the building’s facade ensured that onlookers would only get a side view of Obama on her way in. Those quick enough to catch a glimpse saw that the First Lady, now a veteran in such matters, wore a camel-colored coat over a dark dress — both by Donna Karan — with silver heels.

After the Karan-hosted cocktail party uptown, Obama was Broadway-bound. Sarah Jessica Parker, another design-friendly Democratic pal, was due to host a special performance by Patti LaBelle at the St. James Theater.

Guests who attended the evening’s Act I sung Obama’s praises as they headed back out into the fall chill.

“I think she is the perfect trifecta,” Kors said. “She is powerful, human and galvanizing.”

Nanette Lepore said that even though the encounter was short, it was well worth it. “It is so important to get the enthusiasm back to what we had two years ago when the President was elected,” Lepore said.

“She is gorgeous and smart,” said von Furstenberg, who dashed off early for another political event. “Unfortunately I had to leave before she spoke, because I had to support [Richard] Blumenthal, hopefully my future senator in Connecticut.”

The early goodbye was something of a theme on Monday night. Russell Simmons left about 20 minutes before Obama arrived. He had thought about sticking around to chat to the First Lady about well-being initiatives in schools, a topic he’s raised with her before.

What would YOU wear to sit down to dinner with President Barack Obama for a full 90 minutes…

Barack Obama charmed Anna Wintour & her guests in the West Village last Wednesday night as a veritable all-star team of American designers attended a fund-raiser to benefit the Democratic National Committee at the Vogue editor in chief’s town house, where President Obama was the guest of honor.

If you’re not totally into the fashion aspect, perhaps you want to know:

 Say, what’s for dinner?
Anna: Kobe beef served in truffle bowls.