Last night, Atlanta’s fashion and philanthropic set descended, in full regalia, upon Buckhead’s Phipp’s Plaza, home of high-end, fashion-forward boutique, Jeffrey, for this year’s (and the 22nd annual) iteration of Jeffrey Fashion Cares, the charity fashion show organized by Jeffrey Kalinsky and his fashionable friends, in aid of local charties, Atlanta AIDS Fund and Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta. I attended the event in (let’s call it mid-regalia) a deep moss green, self-designed, Valentino- inspired piece, which was also my choice last year for a moment with Mozart.
The event is said to be one of the Atlanta areas greater philanthropic pursuits. Having raised over $700,000 for both charities at 2014’s sold out show, Jeffrey Fashion Cares boasts having grown into one of the nation’s largest combined AIDs and Breast Cancer benefits. The night kicked off with a reception cocktail teeming with Atlantans serving sartorial gustatory delights of all flavours:
I won’t go full on red-carpet hymnal with you as I do during award show season and on Met Gala nights, but suffice it say, this was my favourite look of the evening. This guest’s bejeweled, blush Prada dress hit all the right notes, with her deliberately messy fiery mane delivering the crescendo. I rarely see Atlantan’s go avant-garde avec success. Bravo, madam, you served the front row well.
All the guests seated, event co-chairs Jeffrey McQuithy, Lila Hertz and Louise Sams introduced of the evenings’s two honourees: Sandy Thurman, a leader and advocate for people infected with AIDS, who has served on numerous AIDS organizational boards and is the current executive director of AID Atlanta, and Janice McKenzie Crayton, President of Big Brothers and Sisters of Atlanta and three-time breast cancer survivor.
With a “passion for fashion [connected] with the purpose of the evening”, as Thurman, charged, the music pulsated through the tent in the belly of Phipps and the models stormed the alabaster stage in a flurry of Autumn/Winter colour, texture and playful gravitas curated by Kalinsky himself from collections ranging from as far and wide as London’s Ashish Gupta to Spain’s Delpozo.
A look from Dries Van Noten’s AW15 collection: the bold razzle dazzle and oriental whisperings of the loose top pairs perfectly with the unassuming khaki drop-waist skirt, that quitely goads you not to underestimate it given its billowing train.
Oh winged glory! Spanish house, Delpozo’s Josep Font is in the business of clothing women in fairytales and hotly-hued hallucinations that are pure poetry. This powder blue coat from his AW15 collection is a bird that preyed on my heart when it first glided down the catwalks of New York in the spring. Last night it swooped down again like an albatross I would be ever so thankful to be tasked with carrying around my neck for eternity.
Fashion is infectious; it truly was a joy to witness its beauty being the puissant factor for raising awareness and funds for local charities. But, perhaps my favourite part of the evening was experiencing my photographer, Kennyatta Collins, experience his first fashion event. Kennyatta is a 23 year old Brooklyn-born, Georgia transplant who fell in love with photographing fashion because, in his words, “clothes tell a story”. He saved up $50 per paycheck for a year, working part time at Best Buy until he was able to buy himself equipment and thus began his artistic journey. To see his eyes light up like they did as we walked through the tent, to hear the quivering of his voice in anticipation as we spoke the night before, to be a block in this young man’s step stone towards his hearts desires, to feel how much he truly does care: what a gift to a jaded old (drag) queen such as myself, to witness his utter presence of mind and spirit and find the joy of new eyes through him.