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Shaft-ed

The Fashion Set Remembers Gordon Parks at a Gala Event

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Liya Kebede   
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The Gordon Parks Foundation, founded in memory of the boundary-breaking photographer and filmmaker, handed out awards at a gala dinner last night to a diverse quartet of creative talents: Liya Kebede, Bruce Weber, Russell Simmons, and Isabel Toledo.

Parks, who died in 2006 at the age of 93, shot for Vogue before becoming the first African-American photographer on the Life masthead; his subjects ranged from Paris fashions to the Harlem streets, and he directed a pretty well-known movie in the seventies. "Who hasn't seen Shaft? That changed everything!" Kebede exclaimed. (Chris Benz, for one: "I only like movies that are set in high school," he said.)

During pre-dinner cocktails, Weber took a break from kibitzing with Ralph Lauren and Anna Wintour to pay homage to Parks. "I grew up with all those pictures. He was sort of like our answer to Cecil Beaton," he said. "You know, Cecil Beaton took fashion, portraits, and family and war photographs—and designed clothes, for My Fair Lady. And Gordon Parks was just completely open like that."

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