City of Hope Celebrates Halston With Studio 54 Theme

WHO: City of Hope’s Fashion and Retail Group

WHAT: 2012 Spirit of Life Award Gala

WHERE: ExchangeLA, Los Angeles

WHEN: October 10

— The scene: A Studio 54 scene, including disco balls and ’70s clad roller skaters, as well as a performance by Miley Cyrus, were just part of this year’s Spirit of Life Award Gala, which honored Ben Malka, chief executive officer and chairman of Halston. The City of Hope’s Fashion and Retail Group honored Malka with the 2012 Spirit of Life Award for his work as a philanthropist and his achievements in fashion.

A black-tie cocktail party and ’70s disco-themed celebration, presented by Guess, drew guests including Britney Spears and beau Jason Trawick as well as Eric Shiner, director of the Andy Warhol Museum, and Dr. Michael A. Friedman, City of Hope’s chief executive officer, to help raise money and awareness for the cause. “I’m honored and humbled to be recognized by City of Hope,” Malka said. “I commend the City of Hope for all that you are and all that you do. Halston would have loved this evening of art, music, fashion and celebration of life.”

Jeremy Weitz, committee president of the fashion and retail group, commended Malka. “Ben is a very easy person to honor because he cares about the cause tremendously, yet he also is doing something innovative in apparel and in fashion right now,” Weitz said. “So it really brought together the fashion side of the apparel industry and also his own feeling of wanting to find a cure for cancer and support the City of Hope.”

An exhibition featuring vintage Halston from the iconic label’s archives and an exclusive Andy Warhol Museum Halston retrospective added to the evening’s nostalgic mood. Guests partied into the evening listening to tunes by Cyrus, Jordin Sparks, Jessica Sanchez, The Pointer Sisters and the Boogie Knights band. The fashion and retail group has raised more than $40 million for City of Hope, a leading research, treatment and education center for life-threatening diseases, including cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.