Saturday, November 7, 2015

H.U.G. 60th Anniversary Diamond Themed Gala With JCPenney, Hanesbrands & Intimate Apparel Square Club

Members and supporters of the prestigious Intimate Apparel Square Club (IASC), the New York-based charity known for supporting pediatric treatment and rehabilitation, celebrated their 60th Anniversary with a diamond themed fĂȘte at the luxurious 230 Fifth in Manhattan. 

The “Who’s Who” of the intimates industry honored Hanesbrands and JCPenney in addition to presenting a Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Joan Gold.

Top apparel industry executives from the retail, manufacturing and supply sectors reunited to raise funds for Rusk Rehabilitation's pediatric programs and other children's services at NYU Langone Medical Center. 

I wore a THEIA jacquard ball gown with strapless crepe bodice and patent belt for the occasion. As with any THEIA gown, the moment I put it on I felt like a Princess. In fact, inspired by the Greek Goddess THEIA, this evening wear, bridal and day dress collection was created to bring out every woman’s inner goddess. One of the original Titans, THEIA who ruled during the Greek Golden Age, possessed the incredible power of light which radiated from her sparkling eyes.  

Established in 1955, The Intimate Apparel Square Club (IASC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Club’s annual fundraiser, which was renamed the H.U.G. (Help Us Give) Gala in 1998, honors well-respected, high-profile companies and individuals, and has generated more than $6 million in support of Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Medical Center.

To date, the H.U.G. Gala has raised more than $6 million for Rusk pediatric rehabilitation and Tisch Hospital programs. 

To learn more about the IASC, H.U.G. Gala or to donate, visit  

My friend Marcy Clark, a power publicist about town organized the stellar PR for the gala. She wore a lovely dress by Kristi Sorensen that evening. I absolutely adore Marcy, and was so in awe of how effortlessly she executed the PR efforts that evening. It's not easy fete to coordinate every single detail of a gala this size, but Marcy did so with incredible precision. 

Marcy runs her namesake PR company which has worked with big name clients in cities such as Manchester, London, Edinburgh and New York. Her areas of expertise include publicizing fashion designers, artists, jewelry and accessory brands, interior designers, furniture studios and luxury lifestyle products and services. How lucky am I to have such incredibly talented friends?! 

My friend Ronn was my unofficial photographer for the evening. (He's a lawyer by day.) I was so happy he could make it so last minute as I invited him to come just a few hours before the gala! 

I had the pleasure of meeting IASC President Michael DePrisco along with members of the Intimate Apparel Square Club, Clelia Parisi and Victor Vega

I couldn't help but literally take my THEIA gown for a spin around the room. As with any strapless gown it's always fun to do a sassy back pose. :)

While meeting new people around the room, I had a chance to chat with Tamara Walker who's the blogger behind The Curvy Socialite.

Of course, I was extra happy to see mini sliders being served! As much as I wanted to try one, the thought of getting anything on my dress quickly dispelled the idea...

After the lovely cocktail hour guests were escorted to the stunning 230 Fifth Ave Empire Room for dinner, speeches and dancing. While making my way in I had a chance to meet the lovely host of the evening, Khaliah Ali WertheimerWe took a photo with Square Club members Heidi Lehmann, Michael DePriscoClelia Parisi and PR maven Marcy Clark.

    Photo credit: Andrei Jackamets

The gorgeous and iconic Khaliah Ali Wertheimer hosted the gala and dinner. The daughter of Muhammad Ali, Khaliah is an extremely popular ready to wear and pattern designer, author, plus size model and philanthropist, having been honored for her work with NYU previously. 

Khaliah spoke of her passion for the IASC's work: "One of the core beliefs that my father instilled in each and every one of my siblings and I is helping children. Like the song it was composed for him 'The Greatest Love of All' says 'I believe the children are our future teach them well and help them lead the way.' Certainly these are words to live by and they are inextricably bound with our mission tonight."

   Photo credit: Andrei Jackamets

Dr. Joan Gold, the Clinical Director of Children’s Rehabilitation Services at NYU Langone Medical Center, who is also a Clinical Professor in Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU, was honored for her work at the event with a Lifetime Achievement Award. "Tonight you make me feel like Cinderella, and I want to dance at the ball", mused Dr. Joan Gold. 

She spoke movingly of being treated for Polio at the Rusk Institute at only 5 years of age, and how Dr. Howard A Rusk himself treated her with the most up to date advancements of the time, helping her defy the odds and avoid a wheelchair bound life. She spoke of her world “opening up with possibilities” and wanting to pursue medicine. Dr. Rusk promised her that one day she would carry on his work, which she proudly does now at the Rusk Institute and have done so far the past 28 years, as a preeminent leader in the field of rehabilitative medicine.

After her speech Dr. Joan Gold received a well deserved standing ovation as the whole room stood up to clap and cheer. 

   Photo credit: Andrei Jackamets

Accepting from retail giant JCPenney was Jodie Johnson, the senior vice president and general merchandise manager of intimates, footwear & handbags. Jodie is a 27-year veteran of the retail business and spoke about JCPenney’s commitment to sustainability and giving back to the communities in which they reside.

"First of all I would like to say how humbled I am to stand up here following the two people who have just spoke, the dedication that they have to this organization and what you do for children." She continued, "I'm honored to accept this award on behalf of JCPenney. We have four cornerstones at JCPenney that we think also reflect what you're about. Our principles of loyalty, compassion, service and courage are all very important to us at the company." 

   Photo credit: Andrei Jackamets

Howard Upchurch President of Innerwear at HanesBrands came on stage to accept the H.U.G. award. He mentioned how he recently visited the Langone Medical Center and saw the magic of what Dr. Gold talked about and was so impressed with the dedication and compassion of all the staff. He proudly said, "We at HanesBrands are passionate about giving back as well with our philanthropic program called Hanes For Good." He concluded his speech with a special announcement that HanesBrands would be making an additional $25,000 contribution.

Beautiful white flower centerpieces with sparkling crystals on top adorned each of the tables. To go along with the evening's diamond theme, guests also received special Swarovski Crystal pens. 

A yummy appetizer of assorted veggies and mozzarella was served.  

Dinner included steak, mashed potatoes with a sprinkling of veggies. 

An almost too good to eat chocolate dessert with a macaroon followed. The foodie in me was obviously quite thrilled about the selection! :) 

It was such a magical experience to be at the H.U.G. 60 year anniversary diamond themed gala overlooking the incredible night views of New York City. I had such an unforgettable time meeting so many amazing people from JCPenney, Hanes Brands & Intimate Apparel Square Club. 

Thank you so much Marcy Clark for extending the invitation to cover this memorable gala in support of Rusk Rehabilitation's pediatric programs and other children's services at NYU Langone Medical Center. 

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