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The Children's Hour

The Black-Tie Set Begins Its Season With the New Yorkers for Children Fall Gala

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Selita Ebanks   
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Fashion week is over and the weather's turning—for a certain category of New Yorkers, the evening curriculum is about to change. "When I got dressed tonight, I looked at the tuxedo hanging there and I thought, 'Get ready,' " Dennis Basso said at last night's New Yorkers for Children fall gala. Yes, that surprisingly durable institution—black-tie season—has begun.

The NYFC benefit, as always, was about celebrating and supporting youth in foster care. Prompted by moving testimonials from some of the charity's young beneficiaries, the assembled guests at Cipriani (including Jason Wu, Hilary Rhoda, and Rachel Roy) raised a total of $1.6 million, with help from a $10,000 live-auction donation from CIRCA founder Chris Del Gatto, one of the evening's sponsors, and a $5,000 contribution from Courtney Love.

Selita Ebanks, who spent time in foster care after her mother emigrated to the U.S. from the Cayman Islands, served as an inspiring master of ceremonies—"Look at me now!"—and the Victoria's Secret Angel even got away (barely) with a joke about having wings. She also fielded a question about her rumored suitor Kanye West—"a really great friend," she insisted.

When the hip-hopper took his seat next to her at the main table, it certainly looked like that, and maybe more. The guy also got a shout-out from Estelle, who closed the formal program with a live rendition of "American Boy." By that time, the crowd was up and swaying and perhaps even thinking, as designer Michelle Ochs put it, "It's really nice to get out of the studio and out of your sweats, and get dressed up."

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