Hark! Is that the smell of fall in the air? The temperatures have dropped, the leafs on the trees look like they are ready to change colors any moment now and homecomings are happening everywhere. So yes, it must be fall.

Ushering in Fall Fashion Week, and the beginning of the social season, Macy’s presented Fashion’s Front Row 2016 before a sold-out crowd at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden. The evening benefited the Council of Fashion Designers of America Foundation, a favorite organization of all things fashion, and the Ronald McDonald House. The high-energy event mixed music, fashion and “compassion, while featuring a spectacular presentation from the fall 2016 collections. Topping the evening off were performances by Ariana Grande and Flo Rida. Gracing the red carpet were fashion photographer Nigel Barker; Martha Stewart; haute couture fashion designers Carolina Herrera, Kenneth Cole, and Prabal Gurung; hip-hop favorites Sandra Denton and Cheryl James of Salt-N-Pepa; actress Jasmine Sanders; Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs of Cushnie Et Ochs; designer Diane von Furstenberg; and CFDA CEO Steven Kolb; creative director and president for J. Crew, Jenna Lyons; gold medalist Daillah Muhammad; actress Naturi Naughton; TV personalities Zuri Hall and Giuliana Rancic; chief executive officer of Kate Spade & Company, Deborah Lloyd; fashion icon Iris Apfel; and others too fashion forward to mention. However, I have to mention fashion designer Betsey Johnson, who literally graced the floor of the red carpet by doing a split.

The models dazzled the runway in their designer outfits. From maxis to minis, to bare midriff, it was summer, spring, winter and fall, all on one graceful stage. Of course the night wouldn’t be complete without the blessings of the C.E.O, and there to do the job were CEO, chairman of the board, president and director at Macy’s, Inc., Terry J. Lundgren; president of Macy’s, Jeff Gennette; and president and chief executive officer of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Steven Kolb.

A top-notch show deserves only a top-notch after-party. The main floor of Macy’s turned into a party goers delight with Champagne flowing, and culinary delights were everywhere. Setting the party mood were DJ Christy Ray and Spinderella, and the mood spread like wildfire. The aisles were filled with people dancing, laughing and thanking the sponsors, who included Samsung, Ronald McDonald House, New York La Croix, Fancy Feet, American Express, Super Brand Day, Lancôme Paris and I Heart Media. This event makes it official. Macy’s is more than just a department store. It is a brand with a caring, compassionate soul, embracing the people and the cause, and it knows how to throw a great party. Watch for more great things to happen.

Everyone seems to be back from all of the getaways, and not a moment too soon. One such appearance was that of Veronica Webb, who last I heard was living in the Florida Keys with her daughter, Molly. We all remember Webb as the model who dated Spike Lee for a hot minute before he married Tanya. Well, even if you don’t, Webb was spotted at the Couture Council of The Museum at FIT annual luncheon. The Couture Council is a philanthropic membership group that helps support the exhibitions and programs of The Museum at FIT.  All proceeds from the event benefit the museum. Also in attendance were Kim Heirston, wearing a lovely shade of blue, and B Michael and Mark Anthony Edwards, both looking, smashing. The event, which is an annual affair, was hosted by Dr. Joyce Brown and honored Akris creative director, Albert Kriemier, with its 2016 Couture Council Award

The talk around town concerns Darren Walker, head of the Ford Foundation. Walker, who is Black and admittedly gay, circulated a rather long annual letter in which he described, in part, his childhood, growing up poor yet still managing to make his way to college, where he became inspired and enamored after reading James Baldwin. “His courageous spirit, his clarion voice and his moral imagination expanded my consciousness of what it meant to be Black in America,” Walker stated and mentioned how the writings of Baldwin continue to stay with him to this day. His letter goes on to talk about the strides that the Ford Foundation have made in their commitment to be inclusive, diverse and supportive of all people across the globe. He further detailed how that commitment has caused him to reflect on his own values, frailties and strengths, as one who has risen in stature while remaining vulnerable to all of the injustices of society, in all of its various forms.

Quite often, once someone begins to live a privileged life, that person becomes blind to the problems of those less fortunate, no matter how good his or her intentions may be. So Walker asks the question, “How do we move from unwitting ignorance to enlightened action?” He basically answers that the transformation starts with acknowledging our own fallibility and deficiencies … becoming more comfortable with uncomfortable feedback, asking for uncomfortable comments and criticism and seizing them as an opportunity for growth. Rather than adopting a defensive posture by default … opening ourselves to dialogue and learning. As we know, change takes time, and we may not succeed fully right away. But by committing to doing better, we need to put aside our pride. We need to open our eyes, ears, minds and hearts to embrace a complete and intersectional view of inequality. Only when we permit ourselves to be equal parts vigilant and vulnerable, can we model the kind of honest self-reflection we hope to see across our society. 

I may have taken these words out of the context to which Walker was referring, it is nonetheless appropriate food for thought as we all grapple with our personal demons and shortcomings.

While you are busy pondering all of that, drop by Paris Blues located on the corner of 121st Street and Seventh Avenue, where there is nightly entertainment and a full selection at the bar, the lights are lows and everybody knows your name.

Until next week … kisses.