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Bo knows fundraising


Charity may begin at home, but with a glass of champagne in hand, models on the runway and Patti Labelle entertaining, it can be more fun on the town.

During the fall 2007 Fashion Week in New York, and specifically on Sept. 5, BoConcept hosted a sprawling charity party that included the debut of the Chinoiserie Garden collection, the latest from designer Zang Toi. The Malaysian designer combined Asian motifs with classic design touches in a fashion show for a charity audience that paid $300 a person for general admission and $1,000 for VIP admission.

Of course, the fashion show was an event in and of itself. With photographers and video crews capturing the event for far-flung fashionistas who couldn’t attend, the evening’s kickoff event raised the level of excitement at the Madison Avenue BoConcept store where it was held and the audience responded appreciatively to the designs that took their influence seemingly equally from Asia and golden-age Hollywood.

Four BoConcepts operate in Manhattan today. The original store, located on Madison Avenue and 30th Street, played host for the event. Merchandise was withdrawn from the showroom to make way for a runway built around a grand piano that not only served as a centerpiece, but also as a reminder of the entertainment for the evening, and the entertainer.

The beneficiary of the evening was the Lance Armstrong Foundation and despite the price of admission, the audience was prepared to give more. The event included a live auction conducted by famous auction house Christie’s. Among the items up for bid were 10 sketches by the designer, a Trek bicycle signed by Armstrong and a Zang Toi Experience package, which featured a $3,000 credit toward purchases at the Zang Toi showroom in Manhattan, two front row seats for his fall 2008 fashion show and dinner for three cooked by the designer and served at his Upper East Side apartment. Choice of dinner, said Toi, is Malaysian or Italian. The bidding started at $3,800.

Of course, Patti Labelle was a major draw. She attended the fashion show and was part of the auction event before her scheduled performance.

Shaokao Cheng, who, with his wife, Niki, is co-owner of the four New York BoConcept stores and two others besides, noted with some pride that the event “raised over $200,000.”

BoConcept supports several charitable organizations, often with in-store events. as part of its effort to embrace its Manhattan community. Those charities include, in addition to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, VH1 Save the Music, Keep a Child Alive, the Trevour Project and the Rainforest Foundation.

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