Fashion Week’s “Rebel” Ruled the Runway at FASHION LOVES ANIMALS

Fashion Week’s “Rebel” Ruled the Runway at

VAUTE Couture President and Creative Director Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart wows guests at amazing night to celebrate the future of fashion

NEW YORK CITY – May 8, 2013 – On Saturday, May 4, New York City’s fashion elite gathered to celebrate the future of fashion at FASHION LOVES ANIMALS, a fashion show and cocktail party benefiting Farm Sanctuary and honoring VAUTE Couture President and Creative Director Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, who made history this year with the first all-vegan label to show at New York Fashion Week. Lights, sounds, and fashion took over SIR Stage 37, the exclusive Hell’s Kitchen hot spot where the Kardashians launched their Bebe line and Mac launched Viva La Glam, for a reprise of the show that led CNN to declare Hilgart “the rebel of Fashion Week.”

Anticipation for the history-making show was palpable as fashion editors, Farm Sanctuary supporters, and VIP guests, including Miss New York City Acacia Courtney and Miss Metropolitan Melissa Philips, mixed and mingled to music by renowned DJ Princess Superstar, while enjoying a delicious assortment of drinks and vegan hors d’oeuvres by 20-year-old vegan “wunderkind” chef Jay Astafa. After getting a taste of some the decadent indulgences that are part of today’s ultra-fashionable, cruelty-free lifestyle, guests took their seats for the main event.

When the lights came up and the music started, it was clear to all in attendance that a new day in fashion had dawned. Models wearing cruelty-free makeup by The Body Shop and hair by vegan salon Salon Champu showed off the head-to-toe vegan look in VAUTE creations that were as exquisite as they were innovative. Shoes and accessories by some of the hottest labels in vegan fashion, including Love is Mighty, Brave GentleMan, and Matt & Nat, completed looks so stylish that they rendered the need (or desire) for animal-derived clothing a thing of the past. Symbolizing the night’s message that fashion and animals can co-exist in a peaceful, non-exploitative way, many of the models strutted the runway holding adorable dogs available for adoption from the New York Humane Society.

After the show, Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder Gene Baur spoke about the organization’s more than 25 years of work to protect farm animals from the abuses of the food and fashion industries, explaining that it’s standard practice for the wool, leather, fur, and down industries to treat animals in ways that would warrant felony cruelty charges if done to a dog or cat. Gasps were heard from the audience as heartbreaking images of live animals literally thrown away like garbage onto “dead piles” were projected on a screen, but sadness quickly gave way to wild applause as those images were replaced with images of the same animals, now happy and healthy living at Farm Sanctuary’s shelters. Baur then presented Hilgart with an award honoring her accomplishments in fashion and commitment to pushing the industry in a more compassionate direction. Hilgart, a former model, charmed the crowd with a story about her first visit to Farm Sanctuary’s New York Shelter in Watkins Glen, calling it her “most favorite place on Earth.”

A rousing live auction followed, giving guests the opportunity to bid on amazing fashion packages from the night’s designers and a chance to have Chef Jay Astafa cook for them and their friends in their own home. Then singer/songwriter Rosi Golan, whose songs have been featured on “The Vampire Diaries,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “In Plain Sight,” “Dollhouse,” and “Ghost Whisperer,” set an enchanted mood with an acoustic musical set that transported guests and readied them for more mixing and mingling over mouthwatering vegan desserts by famed author and pastry chef Fran Costigan.

Guests went home well-dressed, well-fed, entertained, and with 100% vegan, cruelty-free beauty products complements of The Body Shop. In short, sacrificing nothing.

Farm Sanctuary operates three shelters in New York and California that provide lifelong care for nearly 1,000 rescued farm animals, works to change laws to decrease abuse of farm animals, and promotes compassionate vegan living.

The Body Shop, the evening’s cruelty-free beauty partner, has supported and advocated for cruelty-free beauty for bunnies, dogs, farm animals, and all beings since their beginning in 1976. All products are 100% vegetarian and are never tested on animals.