NEW YORK — Naomi Campbell called on the fashion world to do its part for the Haiti relief effort – and the fashion world answered: There will be a charity catwalk show pairing top models and designers at New York Fashion Week.
Campbell organized the first Fashion for Relief event at the Bryant Park tents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and has since taken it to Tanzania and Mumbai, India. The return to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on Feb. 12 comes at the right time, Campbell said.
"Everyone else is trying to help Haiti, and we wanted to do our part on the fashion side of things," Campbell said in a telephone interview from Paris. "The response has been overwhelming. No one has said `no' – which means a lot because it's such a busy time with designers preparing their fall collections."
The event is still coming together, but Campbell said she had called upon her friends, including Christy Turlington and the Duchess of York, asking them to participate. Celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe is putting together the looks, and designer Marc Jacobs has already created a special Louis Vuitton handbag, one of many items that will go on sale on the Net-a-Porter Web site March 15, with proceeds going to the organization CARE.
Campbell also noted that, to make this happen, designer Charlotte Ronson gave up her original time slot at Fashion Week, when the new season of styles are previewed for editors, retailers and stylists.
"Fashion for Relief only works if everyone comes together and makes it work," Campbell said.
The 39-year-old, who rarely walks the runway nowadays, will be one of the models. She hasn't retired from the catwalk, she said, although she saves most of her appearances for charity shows.
"Naomi is a superstar and has a lot of connections," said Ivan Bart, senior vice president of IMG Models. "She can make some phone calls and put on a show."
Bart promises an entertaining event, which isn't at odds with its serious mission. "Raising money to help people doesn't have to be boring. It's an opportunity for people who don't normally go to fashion shows to get into this world."
Tickets will go on sale to American Express cardmembers Friday through Ticketmaster.