A virtual shoe wall, performances by a contemporary dance troupe and celebrity appearances by stars including Katy Perry will punctuate the 25th annual QVC Presents FFANY Shoes on Sale breast cancer fundraising gala and broadcast this week.
Over the past quarter century, the Fashion Footwear Association of New York and the QVC network have sold more than 2 million pairs of donated shoes, and this year’s celebration will add to the $55 million-plus they’ve already raised to benefit breast cancer research centers across the nation.
“It has been just a mind-boggling experience to learn about the talented scientific minds that are engaged in finding a cure [for cancer],” said Ron Fromm, president of FFANY. “And the amazing thing is that from 25 years of raising breast cancer awareness, today the funding is actually curing breast cancer in some patients.”
The Oct. 11 gala will kick off at 6 p.m. at Manhattan’s Ziegfeld Theatre, the second year at the venue, and begin as usual with shopping in the designer shoe salon followed by a reception with dinner and entertainment. The yearly QVC live broadcast will take place simultaneously from QVC headquarters in West Chester, Pennsylvania, hosted by Jane Treacy.
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Meanwhile at the Ziegfeld, a QVC social media correspondent will livestream the gala on Facebook, offering behind-the-scenes views of the event and interviewing designers and celebrities on the aptly named pink carpet.
About 80,000 pairs of shoes from 126 brands will be for sale during the broadcast. Six new labels, including Summit by White Mountain, FitFlop, Step & Stride and Helm Boots, will be available, according to Mike George, president and CEO of Qurate Retail Inc., the QVC holding company. Internet sales dedicated to Shoes on Sale kicked off Oct. 1.
And as this year’s PSA ambassador, Perry will debut styles from her eponymous shoe brand on QVC, including an exclusive look available only through Shoes on Sale.
QVC has been involved in the charity affair since its second year. George said of the company’s involvement, “This event is truly a shining moment for us as we leverage the power of relationships to address an issue of paramount concern — not only to our customers but to our team members and surrounding communities, as well. I am incredibly proud of the impact we have made in the field of breast cancer research and education.”
The 2018 Shoes on Sale gala promises to be more elaborate than in years past, said Fromm. For the first time, organizers have hired a creative director to enhance the entertainment and experience for guests. For example, the St. Louis-based Big Muddy Dance Co. will perform under the Ziegfeld marquee as the doors open to the designer shoe salon.
In addition, TV personality Jill Martin will host the gala once again, with special appearances by Perry and Kristy Cates, star of Broadway’s “Wicked,” who will also act as the “voice of God” during the event.
Early in the evening, cocktails will be held exclusively in the designer shoe salon, where event organizers expect to sell about 1,000 pairs of shoes, said Fromm. Guests will be able to view physical product in the salon, which will debut a revolving “virtual shoe wall” that will showcase digital photos of shoes for sale.
During the evening, FFANY will pay tribute to five exemplary leaders making an impact on the fashion and footwear industry. It will recognize entrepreneur and fashionista Olivia Palermo with its inaugural Influential Figure in Fashion award, which will be presented by FN editorial director Michael Atmore.
Fromm said of Palermo: “She is the new age of branding and promotion. It’s great to be part of the freshness of the industry and the changes that are taking place.”
In addition, Famous Footwear, now led by president Molly Adams, has been named Retailer of the Year. And Tabitha Simmons will take home the award as Designer of the Year.
Other honorees include Anne Fisher, who will receive the Jerome & Jodi Fisher Humanitarian Award in recognition of her family’s contributions to the cause. “We couldn’t have thought of anyone more deserving of that honor,” said Fromm.
And Jessica Simpson, whose brand has contributed to FFANY’s fundraiser for many years, will be awarded the organization’s first Fashion Icon award, which her mother, Tina Simpson, will present. “This is, for us, a real recognition of someone who has been part of bringing the Shoes on Sale program to life,” said Fromm.
Click through the gallery to see more Shoes on Sale celebrity guests through the years.