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Making Peace Happen

New York Designers Rally for Mexico Charity Project Paz

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Eugenia Gonzalez and Michael Bastian   
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New York-based Project Paz enlisted fashion designers in the cause of peace last night, so when cofounder Eugenia Gonzalez started bleeding because she'd sliced her finger open on her Oscar de la Renta clutch, you sort of just had to laugh it off—which is, indeed, what Gonzalez did, applying pressure to the wound with a napkin while cradling her phone and a drink.

After all, young people in Gonzalez's native Ciudad Juárez, home of some of Mexico's worst drug-related violence, face risks of a much higher order, to say the least. Project Art (now in its third year) raises money for extracurricular programs in cooking, sports, music, and art in hopes of keeping the city's children off the streets.

An impressive array of New York designers took part, starting with Gonzalez's employer and business partner, Michael Bastian, who contributed a T-shirt for sale. Most, however, submitted Mexico-inspired photos for the silent auction. Tory Burch and Tommy Hilfiger sent in beach shots, Yigal Azrouël an underwater surfing photo. Thakoon's offering was a close-up of a white rose that he'd stuck with pins during a spare moment at his studio, an image he considered symbolic of the country's beauty and resilience. "I was just playing while I was waiting for a model. I never thought it would end up being poignant," he explained as he toured the room with Richard Chai.

Anndra Neen's Annette Stephens, one of the event's hosts, had hung a photo she'd taken of a poster-covered wall in Mexico City. Photography for her is "kind of a serious hobby," Stephens said, and she often takes to the streets of Mexico City, her hometown, in search of inspiration. Sadly, added her sister Phoebe, neither one of them would dream of doing that in Juárez. "It's not so much a place where you walk around."

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