Veteran Naomi captivates crowd at charity show

2010-02-13 10:10

Naomi Campbell called together her model, designer and celebrity

friends to put on a fundraiser last night for the relief effort in Haiti, but

the most poignant moments of this event, held as part of New York Fashion Week,

was the finale tribute to Alexander McQueen.

McQueen was discovered dead on Thursday in London.

While he wasn’t known to have many close friends in the fashion

industry, Campbell, a fellow Brit, was in his inner circle.

At the end of the runway show, Campbell walked backstage with tears

in her eyes and clutching the hand of fellow model Angela Lindvall.

The last seven outfits in Fashion for Relief were McQueen’s,

modeled by Campbell, Helena Christensen and Karen Elson, among others – all

wearing impossibly high heels by the designer, including one pair of platforms

that didn’t actually have any heels.

Everything seen on the catwalk at the Bryant Park tents in Midtown

Manhattan will be sold on the Net-a-Porter Web site, beginning March 15.

There is something for all tastes, ranging from the snakelike

McQueen cocktail dresses to mens’ tuxedos.

Gold lame gown? Check. Magenta trench coat? Check.

Black catsuit with thigh-high boots? Double check.

The clothes, though, were secondary here. The audience – mostly

paying ticketholders instead of the editors, stylists and retailers that

normally fill the seats at fashion shows – applauded loudest for celebrities

like Chris Brown and Kelly Osbourne, and designers Donna Karan, Diane von

Furstenberg and Georgina Chapman of Marchesa.

Actor Alan Cumming wore a kilt, and Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson

took a spin in a black gown with gold beading after doing an opening speech

about charities such as CARE and the White Ribbon Alliance that fight maternal


She praised Campbell as a loyal and generous friend.

“When Naomi Campbell calls you and says, `Hi Fergie, can you turn

up on the 12th?’ You turn up on the 12th,” she said.

Models who rarely strut anymore, including Maggie Rizer and Agyness

Deyn, strapped on their stilettos, too, with the audience cheering on Deyn when

she fell twice wearing towering Burberry sandals.

But the crowd clearly came to see Campbell, who did not disappoint.

The 39-year-old showed why she was once queen of the catwalk, making a short,

black sequined flapper dress practically do its own dance.

Campbell said before the show that she’s always nervous before

walking the runway, “but just doubly nervous” for the relief show because she

had depended on friends to collaborate and wanted everyone to enjoy it.

American Express, which sponsored the show, said 950 tickets – at

$100-$150 each – were sold out within three days.

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