By the time Cynthia Rowley came downstairs to the shopping party hosted by Housing Works at her West Village store on Monday, Feb. 2—her offices and design studio are upstairs, and she was getting ready for her upcoming Fashion Week show—the clothing racks and dressing rooms had already been pillaged by guests tipsy on white wine.
“What’s great about Housing Works’ philanthropy is that they have this sort of entrepreneurial spirit to everything so that they’re able to do things like a catering service or this event, that’s for profit,” said Ms. Rowley. “It’s a way you can give people something they might actually need rather than rely on donations like other charities.”
When she came downstairs, Ms. Rowley, wearing a floral patterned dress and over-the-knee brown boots, helped "style" guests as they tried on items at a charity-friendly discount. (Ten percent of the evening’s receipts were donated to Housing Works.)
“Up until just about a minute ago, I was pulling my hair out in the design studio,” said Ms. Rowley. “Normally when we have an event like this I would be here the entire time, but it’s only a week and a half until show week!”
On Sunday night, Ms. Rowley’s husband, writer and gallerist Bill Powers, called her at work and suggested she finally part with her studio to come home and watch the Super Bowl. (The couple resides just around the corner from Ms. Rowley’s Bleecker Street boutique.)
“I was like, wait a second–fashion or football?” Ms. Rowley said, holding up both palms as if to weigh the options. “Now, why would I have to leave for that?”
Over by the dressing rooms, a bright-faced Andrew Greene, a Housing Works staffer, was trying on a seersucker blazer and caught Ms. Rowley’s attention.
“Nice! Though my eyes are going, like, ‘prrrrrr!” said Ms. Rowley, blocking her eyes from the dizzying effect of light blue pin stripes over Mr. Greene’s light blue checkered shirt. “But that jacket looks so great on you.”
“I don’t know, I may need another Prosecco to buy this,” replied Mr. Green, hungrily tugging on the lapels.
“You know, if you wash it, it gets kind of crumpled up and looks very thrift store-y,” Ms. Rowley informed him.
“No, no,” he replied. “I’d want to keep it pristine. Just like this.”
Speaking of thrift stores, the Daily Transom wondered if, as a designer, Ms. Rowley was ever saddened to find items from her recent collections dispatched to racks of Housing Works’ many thrift shops.
“You know, a couple of people here tonight, were like, ‘I have lots of your stuff that I’ve gotten at Housing Works!’ And I was like, ‘Thanks, that’s pretty cool.’ And then I thought, ‘Or is that cool?’” said Ms. Rowley. “But ultimately, I think it is because to them, it’s a total score. And the thing she was talking about happens to be one of my favorites and she had three of them! I myself only have one.”