Fashion shows, hardly a new gimmick of fundraisers, were operating at full speed yesterday. The result was entertainment for the viewers, potential sales boosts for the designers and retailers and money in the coffers of several charities.
First came lunch at $16 a ticket, $8 of it going to the Salvation Army's Christmas doll and denior citizen fund. Spectators saw clothes by seven New York designers, six of them there in person.
With cocktails at Pisces, the Georgetown club, you could see the Bill Kaiserman for Rafael collection for a $20 ticket. And since the event was underwritten by Skas/Jandel, all of the ticket price was donated to the program for direct services to cancer patients of the American Cancer Society.
Then for $25 you could have supper at a cocktail buffet at Woodward & Lothrop, seen the successful Kasper collection and caught the first glance as six model room designed by Claus Mahnken. All of that ticket money, too, was turned over for the educational and scholarship work of the Washington Performing Arts Society.
And all day long yesterday, for free, the entire Dimitri collection was modeled informally at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Many designers have been on the road with their collections since August, helping stores boost sales by assisting on the selling floor as well as it shows.
"If I gave in to all the request for personal appearances," said designer Bill Haire at the Salavation Army Luncheon. "I'd be traveling to a store week for months." He does take several trips to "cement relations with stores," he said, and also to talk to customers.
"You get so used seeing those 6-foot beauties (models) on Seventh Avenue you sometimes need to be reminded what the real customer out there look like. After a trip to stores I sometimes actually change the proportions of my designs."
Betty Hansen, who has designed under her own lable for 1 1/2 years, has dore 30 fashion shows outside New York since Aug. 1. "Customers don't need any help with my clothes," she said, "but they just don't recognize my name. Women are very label-conscious today."
Millinery designer Frank Olive, whose hats were shown with several of the collections of the Salvation Army luncheon, said women are far more hat-conscious this year than they last. "Hats are no longer like the Kennedy pillbox that you wear one way," he explained. "Now young customers arepulling them on their heads and enjoying them."