In the current ads featuring the tagline "GBGB Geoffrey Beene Gives Back," (the logo is in a similar typeface to the fabled punk club CBGB), the company displays their commitment and promises more than most fashion brands. One hundred percent of all net profits (that's right, 100%) are given to fund revolutionary new cancer research at the Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Since the beginning of this initiative in 2006 the Beene brand will have donated $144 million to date this year. GBGB was created as per the wishes of its namesake, who before succumbing to cancer in 2004 specified that he wanted the company's profits to be earmarked for this use. "He couldn't believe that there wasn't a cure" said Russell Nardozza, SVP and COO of the company.
Mr. Nardozza, who has been with the company since the days of the legendary Mr. Beene himself, mentioned that their offices still occupy the same space and house an archive of around 1,500 pieces of women's wear. In response to a question I posed regarding whether Beene (one of many to have had a falling out with WWD publisher John Fairchild) had any friends in the industry, Nardozza mentioned that he was very fond of famed publicist Eleanor Lambert whose 100th birthday party both he and the designer attended. Sadly, she had ordered a Geoffrey Beene jacket just two weeks before her death.
If you should find yourself at Michael's, I highly recommend the delicious chicken paillard (hold the fennel) and a seat facing into the room so you can check out the famous faces. Ensconced by the large bay windows, I kept a constant vigil on the stormy weather (sky darkening, umbrellas up, umbrellas down, rain falling sideways), but was unable to see anyone of note over my shoulder (was that Jeffrey Katzenberg?) in the main dining room.
At exactly 2:31 p.m., there was a loud and long buzzing alarm sound as everyone in the restaurant's phone signaled a synchronous flash flood warning in unison. I hope this never occurs during a performance of "Shows For Days." As Patti Lupone is not an octopus I can't imagine how she'd deal with that!
- Laurel Marcus