Benefit Shows The Human Side Of Fashion Week By Nathan James
Twice a year, New York City, as befits its status as a fashion capital of the world, throws on its most fabulous raiment and showcases the latest eye-catching looks that set the trends in the garment trade. Among the flashy Karl Lagerfeld collections and the latest Christian Louboutin Red Bottoms, there is a delightful, upscale little salon nestled away on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, that highlights the softer, more human side of Fashion Week. For the second time at the posh Mark De Alwis Salon, celebrity stylist and designer Mark De Alwis, accomplished photographer Billy Hess, and WorldStar PR publicist Eileen Shapiro unveiled their annual Meals On Heels hair and fashion extravaganza, which supports the Citymeals On Wheels nonprofit, feeding Gotham’s hungry senior citizens.
The sold-out variety show is a fine example of celebrities and ordinary New Yorkers alike gathering to support their vulnerable neighbors. The image Fashion Week often conjures up in the public mind is one of exclusivity, and wealth; the ensembles on display can retail for thousands of dollars sansalterations. The “beautiful people” flit from show to show, basking in the je ne sais quoi of the popping flashbulbs and roped-off red carpets. Of course, the aristocratic and pedestrian were both in attendance at Meals On Heels, but this just heightened the appeal of the event.
Hosted by the indefatigable Tym Moss, a stage and screen star of great renown, the gala was a nonpareil variety show featuring displays of impeccable coiffure by De Alwis, a stunning retinue from Bridal Loft, and tres bon creations by Paula Versalova. Lifting the audience’s spirits were co-host Dr. Dre, the East Coast hip-hop legend who was the morning radio voice of Hot 97 (with colleague Ed Lover), and Yo! MTV Raps host, award-winning out vocalist Sir Ari Gold, emerging songstress JZL, European phenom MIRUD, a hilarious parody of Lady Gaga by Dorothy Bishop (with Michael Musto, the famous Village Voice columnist), house music queen Screamin’ Rachael, singer Natasha Komis, the energetic Coby Loehl, critical darling Brooke Moriber, and the multi-talented Maryanne Piccolo.
“I had a ball doing Meals On Heels,” Moss reflected, “there was so much amazing talent for such a great cause. I thank Mark and Billy from the bottom of my heart for including me.” Because Village People icon Randy Jones was unable to make his scheduled appearance, side-splitting comedian Ike Avelli graciously stepped in to fill the void with a crowd-pleasing impromptu performance. During the intermission, attendees were treated to the savory cuisine of celebrity Share Chef Stephen Daniello, who gives Fire Island Pines its unique flavor all summer long. Uber-DJ Ian Ford kept the music pumping, and the salon was graced with the artwork of gifted painter Olga Perry, including portraits of the performers.
That all these luminaries gave willingly of their time is a testament to the importance of the cause, and the dedication of the show’s organizers. When Fashion Week gets a human face to go with all the pomp and glamour, we all look our very best, no matter what we are wearing.