NY Bag Ladies Luncheon Raises $250,000 for Lupus

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A Prada evening bag before the bidding began

New York—A well-dressed—and well-accessorized—crowd turned out for the 4th Annual New York Bag Ladies Luncheon April 25 at the lovely 583 Park Ave. venue, but the 140 donated handbags placed around the room stole the show.

In efforts to raise money for the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation, 140 donated designer, vintage, celebrity, “vegan,” evening and contemporary handbags were auctioned off in a silent auction. Generous bids from the 330 attendees (a record number for the event) raised $250,000 for the foundation.

Mary Belle, president, licensing at The Jones Group; member of the board of directors of the Accessories Council; and member of the board of directors, S.L.E. Lupus Foundation received a Women of Achievement Award. An award was also presented to Matilda Raffa Cuomo, former first lady of New York State; founder and chair of Mentoring USA National/International; and author of The Person Who Changed My Life.

Jessye Norman, Honorary Chair and Mistress of Ceremonies; Honoree Matilda Raffa Cuomo, Former First Lady of New York State, Susan Golick, Luncheon Chair; Honoree Mary Belle, President, Licensing The Jones Group; and Margaret Dowd, "Special Bag Lady" sponsor

“It’s difficult to see the people I care about, both family and friends, wrestle with this terrible disease, and my hope in serving on the Board of the Foundation is that one day others will not have to suffer,” says Belle, who has personal family experience with Lupus and its devastating effects. Lupus, an autoimmune disease, affects more than 1.5 million Americans, most of them women.

Danielle DiFerdinando (left), owner and designer of Danielle Nicole Handbags, with Lauren Parker, editor of Accessories magazine

Friends, colleagues and licensees of Mary Belle and Jones Group brands also helped make the event a success.

Bags were donated in all styles and pricepoints, from a vintage Prada evening bag with jewels to a John Varvatos leather and wool felt weekender.

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