Sunday, November 13, 2016

American Museum of Natural History Gala Benefiting K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers

I had the immense pleasure of being invited to the prestigious American Museum of Natural History gala, benefitting K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers.

K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers is the charity of choice for new product donations made by companies in the fashion, home and children’s industries. This year’s gala raised over $1.73 millions dollars to benefit children and families in need.

The charity’s annual gala honored the support of Richard Barry, Executive Vice President, Global Chief Merchandising Officer at Toys“R”Us, Inc. and Marc Heller, President of CIT Commercial Services and K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers Executive Board Member.

The honorees’ commitment to K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers over the years has impacted millions of children, families and individuals in need, both nationally and internationally.

In addition to the two honorees, K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers also recognized three top product donors, highlighting their contributions to the organization and how they have helped improve the lives of millions of people in need every year. Together, Global Brands Group, PVH Corp., and Skechers USA have given K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers over $113 million in useful, new product.

“Every year, it is an honor to come together to support K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers with leaders in the fashion, home, and children’s industries,” said Gala Co-Chairman Rick Darling of Li & Fung Trading, Inc. “K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers makes a profound impact in the lives of those challenged by poverty and natural disasters.”

“The K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers gala is an amazing celebration that helps support people in need.” said Gala Co-Chairman Howard Kahn of Kahn Lucas. “This year, we have the pleasure of also honoring top product donors who provide new product for people challenged by poverty, who would otherwise have to make hard choices between food, housing or new clothes.”

This year’s gala highlighted the theme of #DeliveringGood, and the need for new product is immensely important – today one out of every six Americans face poverty. Throughout the year, our product donors help us provide hope, dignity and self-esteem to people in need.

Founded 30 years ago, K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that unites retailers, manufacturers, foundations and individuals to support people affected by poverty and tragedy. K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers is an extremely efficient charity, with more than 97% of revenue dedicated to its charitable program of distributing apparel, accessories, shoes, home furnishings, toys, books and other useful items. Since 1985, over $1.2 billion of donated products have been distributed through our network of community partners, serving the poor and disadvantaged worldwide.

Check out to learn more and donate.

My lovely friend Nora, editor in chief of Tartarus magazine invited me as her guest to the gala. As one of my most stylish friends, Nora looked exceptional in her B. Darlin gown, which sparkled like a thousand diamonds. I wore a THEIA Couture black velvet v-neck neoprene hi-low ball gown with hand embroidered crystal straps from THEIA's new Fall 2016 collection. I can't sing THEIA's designer Don O'Neill's praises enough, as one of my friends and the world's top evening-wear designers he certainly knows how to make a woman feel like a Princess with every gown.  

I've been lucky to cover a few incredible galas, but nothing quite compares to experiencing a decadent black-tie dinner underneath the Museum of Natural History's infamous blue whale. It was magical to say the least, and a memory I'll always remember. 

Orange is the New Black star Dascha Polanco was honored at this year's gala in recognition of her support for children and families. 

In the interim of gala festivities, Nora and me went to explore the museum, and of course take lots of photos in our ball gowns along the way. Our first stop was the tiger exhibit. As I posed with the tiger, I thought of a real life metaphor to use as my caption. "You're only as powerful as the tigers behind you." This year I've been fortunate to meet a lot of incredible, powerful people who've rallied behind me, and encouraged me to excel further. With life's twists and turns, nothing is more concrete than people who sincerely have your best interest at heart, and want to see you succeed. 

Fun fact: the Tiger is also my spirit animal according to Chinese astrology. Ranking as the third animal in the Chinese zodiac, Tigers are the symbol of bravery. People born in the year of the Tiger are friendly, brave, competitive, charming and endowed with good luck and authority. Hope all of this holds true! ;) 

After a long, stressful week it was so nice to get dressed up, and just relax with a glass of wine, underneath a massive blue whale at the Museum of Natural History. Typical Wednesday, am I right?! Special thanks to Nora for letting me borrow her vintage 1960's jewels. I had a vision in my mind for my look and her earrings, and ring served as the perfect compliment.

A quick insight into my black-tie attire planning: I always start with one focal point and everything just revolves around that. In most cases it's usually my gown. Since my gown was black velvet with crystal straps, I envisioned green jewels as the perfect addition to compliment the colors, and the textures. I was also loosely inspired by the time Angelina Jolie wore a black gown with emerald green Lorraine Schwartz 115 carat earrings to the 81st Academy Awards in 2009. 

I couldn't help but to take a moment to really appreciate the surreal reality before me. I wanted to soak in every minute into memory as these black-tie functions have been one of the highlights of my life. Although, this gala was certainly not like others I've ever experienced as I was standing in ball gown underneath a 94 foot long, 21,000-pound fiberglass model of a female blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History. I'm sure very few people can actually say that, and I can't quite put into words how incredible that was. 

After exploring the museum, Nora and me hurried back to our table just in time for dinner. At $1,500 a person ticket, the dinner certainly didn't disappoint with delectable chicken, and a side of mushroom and rice reduction. The foodie in me couldn't be happier for a such an awesome dinner. :)

I was so excited to run into my friend, and PR Queen about town, Nancy Schuster! Nancy coordinated the PR efforts for the gala, and made sure the evening was a brilliant success.

The gala concluded with children performing a fabulous rendition of 'New York, New York' by Frank Sinatra

Before leaving I couldn't resist to try the desserts, which included the most delicious edible glitter cookies! They were almost too pretty to eat, almost... ;) 

My night at the museum adventures came to a close with a quick nap with Teddy Roosevelt after the gala. It's going to be pretty hard to top this evening, but cheers to many more epic black-tie adventures like this. Thanks again Nora/Nancy for having me! xx The Style Socialite 

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