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Star Power

New Yorkers for Children's Fall Gala Draws a Crowd for the Cause

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Selita Ebanks and Serena Williams   
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"Launch a Star" was the catchphrase at this year's New Yorkers for Children fall gala. Thanks to some creative lighting by event designer David Stark, the ceiling at the 42nd Street Cipriani was sparkling with them. The floor was, too, as the likes of Hilary Rhoda and Ivanka Trump swished through in show-stealing gowns.

But the powerhouse charity is about giving underprivileged youth a chance, and on this night, there was a special aura around those notables who had shot to the top from modest circumstances—examples such as Selita Ebanks, a product of foster care, and New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, the evening's honoree, who grew up in a Brooklyn housing project. The very presence of someone like Serena Williams keeps the flame of ambition burning, Rachel Roy suggested. "The kids here have to work their tails off to get what other people are handed, in some cases," the designer said. "Serena represents hard work." The tennis star gets something out of meeting the program's driven beneficiaries, too. "I love the stories," she said. "They always make me cry." All in all, the event raised $1.7 million for youth in foster care—a number to get teary over.

Of course, no matter how serious the cause, there's always fun with dress-up. Christian Siriano came through in a tuxedo jacket from his Fall collection. "It's women's, but it fits me well," he said. Anthony shrugged off the fact that he'd gone with a three-piece Brioni suit in lieu of black tie. "I know, I didn't get the right memo," he admitted. "But I had to come with something different, right?"

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