Published on: March 24, 2015
by Marshall Heyman for Wall Street Journal:
A lot of fashionable New York ladies showed up in their Monday best at Donna Karan’s Urban Zen studio in the West Village this week for a cocktail party to celebrate the U.S. launch of the Women’s Brain Health Initiative.
Among them were Trudie Styler, Martha Stewart, Ivanka Trump, Renée Fleming, Marisa Berenson, Lisa Airan, Jennifer Creel, Kelly Rutherford, Nina Griscom and a handful of models of both the past and present variety, including Constance Jablonski, Carol Alt and Pat Cleveland. Music was provided by DJ Alexandra Richards.
This made for a lot of estrogen as well as a lot of photo ops. The party area itself comprised predominately a large photographer pen with a step and repeat that had a background of green plants. You see these at events from time to time, especially from fashion brands like Chanel and Vogue.
“I love a privet,” said party photographer Billy Farrell, when asked about the trend. “You have less distraction and you can focus on the people you’re photographing and what they’re wearing.” Because it’s a neutral background and a pretty hedge, said Mr. Farrell, “Sure, the pictures come out better.”
Despite the fancy dress and the popping flashbulbs, the meat and potatoes, so to speak, of the evening were remarks by Dr. Airan; Lynn Posluns, founder of the Women’s Brain Health Initiative; and Dr. Pauline Maki, director of Women’s Mental Health Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
We do not know what the research shows about listening to speeches while sausaged into a fancy dress and standing in teetering heels, but it’s fair to say that despite any discomfort, the aim of the gathering was a noble one. The Initiative, launched a couple of years ago in Canada, aims to spread awareness and raise consciousness for brain health, in regard to diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
“We want to ensure that gender is part of the conversation,” said Ms. Posluns.
“Have you seen ‘Still Alice?’ ” asked Ms. Griscom, referring to the recent Julianne Moore film about early-onset Alzheimer’s. “It’s a tough one.”
Ms. Moore’s tearjerker has brought a lot of attention to the cause, said Ms. Posluns, who is based in Toronto. “It’s escalated the conversation,” she explained. “And it shows us we can’t just focus on older people.”
As a gesture, Ms. Posluns gave each of the evening’s hosts a diamond-encrusted Hope-Knot, which is also the symbol of her organization. There’s a double meaning, of course.
“Take a moment to think of the women in your life and how much you depend on the twinkle in their eye,” said Ms. Posluns. “Will you forget? We hope not.”
The actual icon was designed by jeweler Mark Lash, and represents a “loose representation of the brain,” said Ms. Posluns. “See, here are the two lobes of the brain interwoven. I like that it’s in a circle. You know, it’s not easy to make a good-looking brain.”
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