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High School Fashion Industries Benefit
May 23, 2007

Written by Jamie Sharpe
Photographed by Yosra El-Essawy


Exuberance, Enthusiasm, and Innocence Personified

On May 23rd the glitterati packed the High School Fashion Industries auditorium to watch an evening of style unfold. The committee chairperson, Robert di Mauro, floated about the room as the wine swilling crowd eagerly awaited the creations of the Golden Needle winners.

The evening began with an awards presentation that tugged at the heart strings. New York fashion designer Joseph Abboud presented Jack Herschlag with the Lifetime Achievement award for his fashion, editorial, and philanthropic efforts. Herschlag graciously accepted the award and joked that in his youth, he snuck into the gym at HSFI to play basket ball.

Andre Leon Talley and Tracy Reese

Fashion legend Andre Leon Talley had the privilege of presenting his friend, Tracy Reese, with the coveted Designer of the Year award. Andre was moved by Reese’s accomplishments, and he lovingly said that if, “Valentino had a daughter, it would be Tracy Reese.”

Student Fashion Show


After all of the accolades were handed out, the fashion show began, and the Golden Needle winners had their moment in the spotlight. The clothing was a mixed bag of exuberance, enthusiasm, and innocence. Many of the pieces were layered and the material had movement. Most of the designers chose to go bold with bright hues, sparkle, bows, and embroidery. The classic corset and bustier was reinterpreted in a number of ways, as was the bubble skirt. Hemlines were raised and fabric was usually runched to create a flirty effect.

The evening reached a dramatic climax with the eveningwear. The models lip synced to songs that served as the inspiration for the garments. The audience was treated to a tribal Indian number, Diana Ross, Madonna, and a Prince that showed as much moxy as the actual artist. The appreciative crowd clapped along with all of the numbers, but everyone seemed to favor the two Tina Turners. The first number was done to Rolling on the River, and the model shimmied in a stunning solid gold flapperesque mini dress. The second Tina rocked out to "What’s Love Got To Do With It" while sporting a mullet and an 80’s inspired mini leather dress.

The night came to an end with a wedding that featured men’s and women’s styles. The event showcased raw talent that will undoubtedly be making a splash in the tents at Bryant Park before too long. If any of the young designers ever need inspiration, all they need to do is look at alum Tracy Reese to realize how much they can achieve.

Back Row L-R: J.J. Thomas ; Joseph Abboud; Jack Herschlag;
Tracy Reese; Andre Leon Talley
Front L-R: Hilda Nieto; Robert di Mauro; Patti Carpenter.

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