Naomi Campbell, Olivier Rousteing, and Geoffroy van Raemdonck Were Honored at the 74th Annual Parsons Benefit


Wednesday night, fashion’s biggest household names and the next generation of rising stars gathered to celebrate the 74th annual Parsons Benefit in downtown Manhattan. Every year, the evening is dedicated to reflecting on the journey of a Parsons School of Design graduate while saluting The New School’s unwavering commitment to creativity, innovation, sustainability, and inclusivity.

Co-chaired by Wes Gordon, creative director of Carolina Herrera, Alexandra Moosally, co-founder of Saint New York Partners, and Gena Smith, chief human resources officer for LVMH Inc., this year’s benefit was bigger and better than ever. Hosted at Cipriani Wall Street, the grand ballroom was transformed into a mega-runway lined with decadent gala tables and a stage fit for a legendary hip-hop performer.

Upon arrival, guests, including Kim Kardashian, Marc Jacobs, Jodie Turner-Smith, Cara Delevingne, Dapper Dan, Diane Von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, Joseph Altuzarra, Victor Glemaud, Lazaro Hernandez, Jack McCollough, and Laura Kim, were greeted with a first look at the BFA and AAS Fashion Design students’ work, which was elegantly displayed on mannequins during the buzzy cocktail party. Even with some of the industry’s most influential people in the room, the spotlight was on the MFA Fashion Design and Society students, who were minutes away from a long-awaited moment, and perhaps a life-changing one.

Once the Parsons Table Award nominees—Naomi Campbell, Olivier Rousteing, and Geoffroy van Raemdonck—arrived, everyone was ushered to their table for the main event. Following a few warm introductions, Vogue’s Anna Wintour, wearing a vintage Balmain skirt by the late Oscar de la Renta, took the podium to present the prestigious award to her longtime friend and French fashion designer, Rousteing.

“Within the history of Balmain, it seems to me that there is an amazing connection between Oscar de la Renta’s way of giving and the giving back that Olivier has done,” Wintour began. “We need more generosity in fashion, more leaders like Olivier. I want to celebrate him with Oscar’s memory and the message that what’s given is given back.”

Before Rousteing joined her on stage, Wintour surprised the crowd with a touching video from former First Lady and Balmain superfan Michelle Obama. Moved by Wintour and Obama’s words, Rousteing ditched his script and spoke to the crowd from a deeper place, his heart. “You’re not only celebrating a creative director tonight. Tonight you are celebrating a man who is African-born in France and with an incredible French luxury house in his hands, so tonight, you are celebrating a new world. You’re celebrating the hope for the next generation and for the students with us tonight. Change can happen, but only if we are fighting together.”

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