Paris Fashion Week, Milan and New York jet-set their way to Atlanta every year. The last Monday in August has become one of the most anticipated dates of the year because of Jeffrey Fashion Cares. Many view the high-end runway show, live auction and philanthropic event as the kick-off to the Fall fashion season in the city. With designer labels such as Gucci, Celine, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Valentino, Dries van Noten, Saint Laurent Paris, Balenciaga, Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik, Jeffrey Fashion Cares is most definitely the hottest ticket in town.
The visionary behind Jeffrey Fashion Cares is its founder, fashion icon and philanthropist, Jeffrey Kalinsky. He has two namesake boutiques, one in New York’s meatpacking district and the other in Atlanta at Phipps Plaza. Jeffrey Fashion Cares, which showcases the latest looks of the season, occurs twice a year - in NYC at the US Intrepid as a menswear show and the other runway is in Atlanta and is celebrating twenty-five stylish years. While the NYC event brings out the likes of Vogue's Anna Wintour and celebrities such as Chloe Sevingy and Zachary Quinto, it is the Atlanta event that got everything started. Jeffrey Kalinsky spoke with us about the early years, when Jeffrey Fashion Cares was called “Shoe Cares.” Kalinsky got his start in the shoe business so his charity fundraiser was naturally all about shoes - fabulous shoes, of course. He pointed out that one of the greatest challenges in those early years was figuring out how to create an entertaining and engaging fashion show with shoes. Well, anyone who knows Jeffrey knows he’s always one step ahead - no pun intended - and he figured “it” out.
I once asked Jeffrey how he keeps the show fresh year after year and he humbly turned it back to his amazing team and their hard work, but modesty aside, it’s Jeffrey Kalinsky’s vision, aesthetic and drive that keep him and his endeavors on the forefront of fashion. “Our job is to travel the world and be shoppers for our shoppers,” says Jeffrey. “We try every single season to buy the most beautiful things in the world,” he added. [And] on that last Monday in August, you can see all those “beautiful things” parade onto a 140ft+ runway. One of my favorite moments of the show, besides all the to-die-for looks, bags and shoes, comes at the finale walk where Jeffrey makes a runway stop to kiss his mother while she hands him a bouquet of roses.
Jeffrey acknowledges that breast cancer and AIDS have affected so many lives and that by coming to Jeffrey Fashion Cares, you are participating in something good. In its history, Jeffrey Fashion Cares has become the largest combined AIDS and breast cancer benefit in the country. Lila Hertz, who has chaired the event for fifteen of its twenty-five years, shared an optimistic and inspiring message, "We are so proud of the contribution we have made to the breast cancer and AIDS charities over the years. However, our work is not done—there is still much to do for these two diseases. So, we want everyone to join us to celebrate our silver anniversary and contribute to help us reach our goal of one million dollars. Together we can do it!!”
Jeffrey Fashion Cares benefits Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta, the Atlanta AIDS Fund (AAF), and the Medical University of South Carolina. For more information and tickets, visit jeffreyfashioncares.com