Awards season may be over, but the spring charity circuit is in full swing. John Varvatos went big this year with his eighth annual Stuart House benefit, which serves the special needs of child victims of sexual abuse and their families. “With each year we’ve been doing this, we’ve managed to make it bigger and better. It used to be this small thing with up-and-coming artists, and now we’ve got so many people who are here to help and perform that we’ve managed to shut down Melrose,” Varvatos said on Sunday, motioning to the cordoned-off L.A. street that served as the afternoon’s backdrop. Along with co-hosts Patrick Dempsey and his wife, Avon’s Jillian Dempsey (not to mention a handful of Patrick’s Grey’s Anatomy cast mates), Mick Rock manned the portrait booth, K.D. Lang performed an outdoor concert for the crowd, and Shepard Fairey took to the DJ booth for an impromptu afternoon set.
At her inaugural event for the cause—what she called her “first date” with Varvatos—Zoe Saldana (left, with the designer) was eager to show support. “It’s so important to lend your voice and participate in any cause that aids children who are victims,” she said. But it was also an afternoon off for the star, who has been enjoying a bit of downtime since her jam-packed 2010. “I’m just happy to be relaxing. Last year was such a beautiful and rich year, but I’m still recovering.” And taking the year off meant she got to forgo the red carpet and engage as spectator instead. “I was happy to see my stylist Petra Flannery, who was styling all these amazing girls for the red carpet, and they were stunning. As a girl, that just made me so happy.”
She may be busy helming her all-encompassing Alice + Olivia empire (complete with a soon-to-be-announced upcoming collab), but ask Stacey Bendet what her most important role is and she’ll tell you it’s mother, to daughter Eloise and her other impending arrival. So for the holidays, Bendet has teamed up with Baby Buggy, a New York nonprofit that provides for families in need, for a special gift drive. Through the month of December, shoppers who donate an item at A + O stores nationwide will receive 15 percent off their entire purchase. “We’re very fortunate, all of us. We have all these things that we want to give to someone and know that it’s going to mean something. Baby Buggy makes that happen,” the designer enthused. She also knows that moms sometimes need a little something for themselves, too. “We’re extending the Alice + Olivia Makeover Tour we did through the spring so we can give moms the things they really need,” she added. “To bring them the Alice + Olivia touch and make them feel good, too.”
The mob of young celebs who came to show their support at L.A.’s Soho House to kick off the initiative last night are among those who appreciate that touch. They weren’t all moms—yet—but Kourtney Kardashian, Denise Richards, 90210‘s AnnaLynne McCord (pictured, with Bendet), and Nicky Hilton all raised the profile of the evening. Certainly none are strangers to shopping. As Jillian Dempsey, Avon global ambassador and a mother of three, put it, “This is just such a wonderful cause for kids who are not as privileged as others. How hard it is to shop and contribute?”