Friday, May 27, 2016

New York Fashion Cool-Aid ®

Spring Flinging with The Lower Eastside Girls Club

Jenny Dembrow and Lower Eastside Girls Club
All photos: Laurel Marcus

Wednesday night I had the privilege of attending Spring Fling: A benefit for the Lower Eastside Girls Club at The Bowery Terrace at the Bowery Hotel. The evening's honorees were financial wizard Kimberley Hatchett and fashion inspiration Patricia Field, both supporters of the LESGC. The theme was a festive and fun prom with girls from the Club in donated prom dresses, some of which they had "customized" with Artist Scooter LaForge from the House of Field, known for his collage-like art often featuring clowns.

Kimberley Hatchett, Debi Mazar, Patricia Field, Miriam Shor

Upon arrival and after climbing the stairs to the rooftop location I was greeted by several girls giving out handmade "corsages" of fabric flowers, ribbon and feathers.  As I walked into the party I remarked on how the summer-like weather and the space worked together synergistically providing an easy flow of indoors-outdoors. Guests mingled out on the roof deck or just inside by the bar area with a large dance floor and music by band Sonido Costeno.  The overall effect was as if an arts fair, fiesta, prom and a circus had all come to town!

Scooter LaForge, Patricia Field and friends

High profile attendees included many of New York's most influential and connected business leaders, creative innovators and philanthropists who give freely of their time and money to the 20-year-old Girls Club which relocated in 2013 from a leaky basement to a 30,000 square foot state-of-the-art space complete with a planetarium on Avenue D, thanks to funds raised at events such as this one.

Tyra Banks from L.A

Eventually everyone gathered for the remarks portion of the evening which began with Jenny Dembrow, co-founder and director of programs (as well as former Jeremy Scott muse and Limelight club kid back in the mid 90's) welcoming the crowd followed by a step performance by some of the girls. Tyra Banks, supporter of the Girls Club and founder of the T-Zone Foundation located at the LESGC, spoke via video, to introduce Morgan Stanley Executive Director Kimberley Hatchett. Tyra spoke of how Hatchett rose to prominence in a predominantly white, male dominated field. She is now responsible for handling $200 billion -- which she accomplished by jumping through "hurdles" just like she had as an Olympic hopeful in the '80s.

Kimberley Hatchett

Hatchett gave a rather short speech concluding with her favorite quote "We rise by lifting others." Then Actress Debi Mazar, (who was accompanied by her fellow castmate Miriam Shor of the TV show "Younger" on which Field is the costume designer) introduced Pat Field mentioning that they had been friends for 35 years, and knew Jenny Dembrow for 25 years. Regarding Mazar's relationship with Pat: "We're both Queen's girls. Bridge and tunnel and we own it" she quipped. "Pat was godmother to the kids of NYC. She provided a creative outlet and jobs." Mazar recounted how she had left her unstable home at 15, ending up at Pat's store where she used her beauty school training to cut Pat's hair. "She welcomed us to her shop, gave us fabrics and a good way to stay out of trouble and off drugs. It was a safe haven and Pat created a family of artists."

Pat Field speaks

The raspy voiced Pat spoke of the "good will that went into building this beautiful building" as well as expressing her wish that "their experience opens the doors so to speak. This Girls Club should be a prototype for similar clubs around the country." After adding that she never saw herself as a girl or a boy, but rather just as a person. "My mother is the same way. There are no girls or boys brains. It's just a brain." After thanking Scooter LaForge, she had a message for the girls.  "You've got a life ahead of you and it's gonna be beautiful."

Step dancing girls

Next the girls chorus sang "I Am Superwoman" followed by Jenny Dembrow instructing everyone to text their pledges. At 9 p.m. the after-party began with all getting their groove on to the tunes of DJ Natasha Diggs. All funds raised will sponsor the Lower Eastside Girls Club programs connecting at-risk girl to healthy and successful futures while offering a safe haven and studies in the arts, sciences, leadership, health and wellness.

Lyn Pentecost, Executive Director at The Lower Eastside Girls Club

Of course, prom dresses are fun but they do present some challenges. "This should be an adventure," a beautiful young woman in a teal satin full-skirted "Cinderella-at-the-ball" gown said as she entered the stall. At the sink,  I found out that she was a former "girl" at the Girls Club and had since "married in" to the family with a son of one of the directors. "I was told to wear this" she said. "Well, you totally rock it!" I answered, and went off into the night reassured that fairy tales do come true.





- Laurel Marcus

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