The QVC Presents “FFANY Shoes on Sale” fundraiser has harnessed the power of pink for 22 years, marrying great shopping and a deserving cause. Now, the footwear industry’s pinnacle charitable event is on track to surpass $50 million in donations for breast cancer research and education.
The festivities start tonight at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, where attendees will enjoy gala mainstays like the designer shoe salon and awards ceremony.
The salon, where guests can snag discounted pairs of luxe styles, will continue to be a draw, said event organizers, who have received donations of covetable shoes from top labels, including Giuseppe Zanotti, Stuart Weitzman, Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors and Salvatore Ferragamo.
The awards ceremony, hosted by “Dancing with the Stars” alum and 2015 event spokeswoman Cheryl Burke, will honor footwear business leaders who have made an impact in the industry and in the fight against breast cancer.
Chalhoub Group, a major player in luxury footwear in the Middle East for 60 years, will receive FFANY’s Retailer of the Year award.
The FFANY Jodi Fisher Humanitarian Award will go to Vince Camuto in a posthumous gesture for his unflagging support of the cause. “I’m sure that will be well-received and heartfelt for so many in the room who know of Vince’s commitment to the industry,” said Ron Fromm, president and CEO of FFANY.
The night will also offer video interludes highlighting the work of the beneficiaries as well as personal stories from breast cancer survivors. Notably, comedian Wanda Sykes has recorded a message about her own experience with a Stage Zero diagnosis in 2011.
Actress Courteney Cox, a longtime supporter of the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., is also set to make an appearance via video.
What more could Shoes on Sale need? Its own theme song, of course. This year, FFANY commissioned an original composition by Paul Reuter, executive director of the Sheldon Concert Hall & Art Galleries in St. Louis. The song will be performed at the gala by two-time Grammy Award winner and breast cancer survivor Sylvia McNair.
Also new: Club FFANY, the event’s after-party, will move to the stage of the ballroom, allowing additional shopping time in the designer shoe salon.
Even more shoes will be sold during QVC’s telethon on Oct. 22, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (ET), with a new studio designed especially for the event. Made to look like a New York loft, the set will also be bigger than ever.
“We’ve found with the range of products we sell, we’ve got to move quickly, so there will be a lot of room to display the product. It will be different for the viewer,” said Mike George, CEO and president of QVC, which has been a Shoes on Sale partner for 21 of the event’s 22 years.
George recalled meeting many of the beneficiary hospitals and researchers over the years. And while the science behind the disease can sometimes be difficult to understand, he said, the experience is always energizing.
“They always thank me, and I pause and say, ‘I’ve got the easy part of the job here,’” said George. “What they are doing is quite extraordinary.”