By Jessica Thomas

With Phipps Plaza, Lenox Square and many clothing and accessory boutiques lining the streets, it’s easy to see why Buckhead is the fashion mecca of Atlanta.

But it’s not just about fashion for at least one store owner.

Jeffrey Kalinsky, owner of Jeffrey Atlanta in Phipps Plaza, also wants to make a difference in the community.

His 17th annual Fashion Cares event, scheduled Monday, Aug. 31, will benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure Greater Atlanta Affiliate and the Atlanta AIDS Partnership Fund (AAPF). Last year’s sold-out event with more than 1,000 attendees raised an unprecedented $800,000 with 95 cents on every dollar donated to the two charities.

“The more money we raise [at Fashion Cares], the more women we can help, said Lila Hertz, co-chair of the event. “With this economy, more and more people are without insurance. So, our work is more important now than ever before.

“Breast cancer will hit one in eight women. The key to survival is early detection. Events like this make people talk about the disease and remind them to pay attention to changes in their bodies and to go get their mammograms.”

Hertz, one of the event’s chairs for eight years, is passionate about the effort. A breast cancer survivor, she was diagnosed in May 1998, finding out the Tuesday after her daughter’s graduation from high school. She had surgery the same week.

She was in the middle of training for her first marathon and was out running again four days after the surgery. Hertz ran her marathon in October 1998, just six months after being diagnosed.

Her interest in raising money for the Komen Foundation and love of fashion was a no-brainer when she first chaired Fashion Cares in 1999.

“The combination was unbeatable for me,” Hertz says.

Co-chair Sacha Taylor, who has been chairing the event for three years, agrees.

“The causes got me involved because they are healthcare driven,” she said, emphasizing she hopes the event will raise as much or more money as last year. “We are just hoping to return as much money as possible to the charities, as they both need it more than ever.”

This year, designer Jason Wu, who designed First Lady Michelle Obama’s inaugural ball gown, will be Fashion Cares’ special guest designer, following Oscar de le Renta in 2007 and Isaac Mizrahi in 2008. Atlanta-based bridal designer Anne Barge is this year’s honorary chair.

The annual event will take place at the W Hotel Downtown and begins at 7 p.m. The event includes a pre-show cocktail reception, a couture fashion show, silent and live auctions, and the presentation of the Jeffrey New Talent Award to a Savannah College and Design student as well as an after-party. For more information, purchase tickets or to find out about patron and corporate sponsorship opportunities, call 404-745-0293 or visit