Parsons honors Tory Burch and other design patrons

What’s it like being Derek Blasberg’s muse?

Mr. Blasberg, the social butterfly and YouTube fashion ambassador, had just introduced Lauren Santo Domingo as his “mentor and muse” at a benefit dinner for the Parsons School of Design.

“I can only compare it to being Josh Safdie’s muse in ‘Uncut Gems,'” said Ms. Domingo, who took to the stage in a white Toni Maticevski gown and was honored alongside Tory Burch, Darren Walker and artist Kehinde Wiley was a no show.

The dinner, held Monday at the Glasshouse in Midtown Manhattan, raised nearly $2.6 million for scholarships. Art, design and fashion graduates from 2020 and 2021, who have been denied their moment in the sun by the pandemic, mingled with faculty, honorees and notable guests including Wes Gordon, Donna Karan, LaQuan Smith and Ivan Bart, the President of IMG.

At 8:00 p.m., Brad Goreski, the evening’s host, instructed the 400 guests to “stop the air kisses” in order for the dinner program to begin. The first award winner was Ms. Burch, who wore a colour-block jersey dress of her own design. “We have the best team in the world,” she said. “And it’s no coincidence that a lot of them went to Parsons.”

Between grilled watermelon and char, a New School College of Performing Arts jazz quartet played fun standards including Stevie Wonder’s “For Once in My Life.”

Samira Nasr, Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar, was asked about the state of her industry. Condé Nast CEO Roger Lynch recently told the Sway podcast that his publishing empire “is no longer a magazine company.”

“I would not comment on what happened at Condé Nast,” Ms. Nasr said diplomatically. “But I would say we are media brands and a magazine is an expression of what we do.”

Mr. Gordon, sitting nearby, agreed. “The lines between entertainment, news, fashion, art, theatre, performance and reality have all mixed and merged in interesting and confusing ways,” he said.

After an endless auction (items included a cognac tasting and a portrait of Mark Seliger), guests were treated to a surprise fashion show, where young Parsons fashion graduates, including Kou Yanga and Zoe Whalen, wore a dress, she had made that day, in white cotton linen with side vents and authentic Victorian-era cuffs and bloomers.

After the show, guests were encouraged to stay for drinks, although the bar was closed. A few guests returned to the antechamber to examine the students’ work. Parsons University graduate and board member Donna Karan was drawn to work designed by Zehua Wu, born in 2021. Her collection, titled “Artificial Flower,” featured barely-there metallic plastic tops that appeared to be mid-air being eaten by digital moths.

“When I think about when I went to Parsons and how straight forward it was and to see where it’s gone – oh my god,” Ms Karan said. “I’m old,” she added, turning to leave. “But what is old is new.”

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