(NEW YORK) Although the plight of the Worldwide Orphan’s Benefit Gala is no laughing matter, the crowd was in stitches from cocktail hour to dessert, mostly due to the evening’s host, Seth Meyers. For the ninth annual event, two of WWO Orphan Ambassadors flocked to Cipriani’s Wall Street location to receive their honors. Diane von Furstenberg and Dr. Sophie Mengistu were applauded and awarded for their work with the world’s orphaned children. According to Furstenberg, “It is not just about raising money it is also important to raise awareness to people in need.”
Rather than the usual red carpet debacle, the WWO opted for a royal blue flooring at this year’s gala, the theme of which was the belief that “it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.” Glamour’s Cindi Leive, Jenna Lyons, Sarah Hughes, Sarah Ziff, and Ann Curry were among the gala-goers. Also on hand to keep the mood light? The CEO of WWO, Dr. Jane Aronson, who was sporting the accessory du jour; a pair of round blue glasses. Guests playfully donned pipe-cleaner versions of her specs, in support of the foundation and its fearless leader. Prior to walking the blue carpet, von Furstenberg helped Aronson avoid a wardrobe mishap by teaching her the proper way to tie her DvF frock. It turned out that Dr. Aronson’s two sons, who helped her get dressed, were not quite fluent in the language of the wrap dress.
Elie Tahari was not only an attendee at the event, but he connected to the cause on a personal level: he was an orphan himself. As for the fictional orphan dearest to the designer? “Annie, because it’s a great story,” Tahari explained. While Amy Poehler, a former host of the event, wasn’t free to attend this year (she joked that Meyers filed a restraining order against her presence) her droll video made up for that. In her absence, she urged attendees to donate money, promising that doing so would make them skinny. Serious fundraising with a side of comic relief!