Held on June 16th at Tela Design Studio on 13 Little West 12th street, the benefit, presented by Freedom Forth a non-profit organization that “attains the mission of empowering and serving women of domestic violence, domestic trafficking, and low income” by partnering with doctors, nutritionists, and fashion designers, showcased the new Elegantees collection by designer and founder, Katie Behnke. The mission of Elegantees is to “help restore women from domestic abuse and trafficking” by focusing on wearable attire that Ms. Behnke describes as, “modest, confident, beautiful, and professional.” The runway consisted of clothing ranging from business casual to a night out on the town for women of all shapes and sizes, jewelry donated by Stella & Dot, with hair and make up provided by noted stylist Philip Pelusi and students from the Empire Beauty School.
Everyone was pleased to donate time and energy into the benefit, including model Stefanie Johnson, who came all the way from Virginia to offer her strut to the cause. “It’s such a great organization,” noted Ms. Johnson. “And I am happy to help bring awareness to it”. Mr. Pelusi himself, who after working 45 years in the industry has always “had a respect for women and what they bring to society” was also delighted to take part in the event.
The benefit included remarks from Freedom Forth founder, Kristin Lee Grandstaff, who broke into tears as she discussed her organization, has dedicated her life to spreading awareness of domestic violence and domestic trafficking. The main goal of Freedom Forth is to enable women who are affected by these unfortunate events and provide them with the tools needed to become self-sufficient and self-assured women with the hope of returning to the community to live independently.
The entire evening was about empowerment and freedom. As noted in the introductory video for Freedom Forth, “beauty in a women is reflected in her soul”.