Diversity and Inclusion

Fashion comes together to celebrate the LGBT Center and Activist Bethann Hardison


Naomi Campbell and Bethann Hardison   
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It takes a lot to get a fashion crowd together on a Sunday evening in June, the night before the CFDA Awards no less, but the second annual Fashion Centered dinner supporting The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center did the trick. Not that cocktails alfresco in the garden of the Center's West 13th Street headquarters was twisting anybody's arm. Sofia Sanchez Barrenechea and Joseph Altuzarra took the opportunity to compare plans for their upcoming nuptials. Altuzarra's mother, Karen, was also in attendance, as were Alexander Wang; Ryan Korban; Kering's Laurent Claquin; and Narciso Rodriguez and his husband, Thomas Tolan.

Over dinner, Isaac Mizrahi surprised guests with an impromptu song performance, but it was Barneys' Mark Lee who stole the show, sharing a touching personal anecdote about growing up gay in 1970s San Francisco—"I marched in our Pride parade against Anita Bryant!"—and personally donating $20,000 to support The Center's programming.

In the end, the evening raised more than $150,000. So naturally, the Center's executive director, Glennda Testone, hopes to keep nurturing the relationship between fashion and her organization. "There's such a natural marriage between fashion and the LGBT community," she told "The fashion industry celebrates people expressing themselves and being who they are. A lot of LGBT kids find solace in fashion, and a lot of fashion folks look to our community and our icons for inspiration."

Earlier, some of the same faces were in the mix at Marquee, where Naomi Campbell and Iman were throwing a 1970s-style Sunday tea dance party for Bethann Hardison, who'll pick up the Founder's Award at the CFDA Awards tonight for her diversity advocacy. Introducing the woman of the hour, Tyson Beckford said, "Tonight is about my manager, my heart, Mama B, Bethann Hardison. Bethann has led us in this fight to make sure that each and every one of you young colored people can have a life like Tyson Beckford, like Naomi Campbell, like Iman…You the stylists, the photographers, the bookers, you can control this. The models will show up. Fuck racism. Up with diversity."

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