Thursday, June 28, 2007

Celebrity Studded Fundraiser for Afghan Hands

Last night, I attended my first New York City velvet-rope party, a celebration of the high-impact non-profit Afghan Hands at the Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Gallery in Chelsea. This gorgeous gathering was a classic example of a chic NYC crowd rallied around a cause, with a silent auction packed with services-to-the-stars and fashion-forward, celebrity worn gowns. Talk about beautiful people, both inside and out, as many were using their status to make a difference through this charity and others.

Afghan Hands is dedicated to empowering and educating widows in Afghanistan. By teaching the textile skills needed to create exquisitely realized embroidered scarves and shawls, these talented women gain independence both financially and personally. Above all, Afghan Hands pays for their artisans to educate themselves, and with this new found literacy and knowledge of basic human rights, provides a solid base of empowerment.

In addition to being take-your-breath-away stunning, these colorful, chic cloths are also profoundly moving, as each has a small bit of burqa material sewn into the corner. By deconstructing such a strong symbol of oppression, this dull blue patch of fabric symbolizes freedom from brutality, dependence and fear.

Founder Matin Maulawizada, a joyous, generous and genuine soul recently named a CNN Hero, launched the project with a clutch of savings and a determined dream to help those in his native country. A renowned celebrity makeup artist, his clientele immediately fell in love with the embroidery and started wearing them on set. The exposure and subsequent sales help pay for this important educational project, but the ordinary citizen can purchase items or donate too.

Bonus: Interviewing actress and Afghan Hands supporter Claire Danes (looking luminous) regarding her involvement. She explained to me that she enthusiastically gave these exquisite scarves to all her friends as holiday presents, and what a joy it was to help humanity by indulging in such beautiful fabrics. She was accompanied by her handsome (and sweet) British boyfriend, actor Hugh Dancy.


Hilary said...

This is totally missing the point of everything, but I had no idea Claire Danes and Billy Crudup broke up! She's going to have to stop dating her co-stars. Two is the limit before it's a thing, I think.

Mary Hilton said...

This is a cute couple though, and both seem socially aware. More stuff on them at the Afghan Hands event on InStyle and New York Mag websites at,,20044149,00.html?cid=recirc-yourlookRecirc

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