Agents, designers and friends gathered at the Gabarron Foundation Carriage House in New York City on Monday night to support Autism Speaks, a leading science and advocacy nonprofit for people with autism. Model Jacquelyn Jablonski and her mother turned to the organization after her younger brother was diagnosed at the age of two. “I’ve been wanting to do something like this for so long,” Jablonski said, in a silky white floral print dress by Prabal Gurung. “I wanted to do my part and tell everyone in the fashion world my story.” A silent auction of donated items—including pieces by Oscar de la Renta and Alexander Wang and a black-and-white elephant print by famed photographer Patrick Demarchelier—raised $32,000.
Daniel Ryan, a longtime supporter of the group and a father of three, says he knows firsthand what it’s like to raise a child with autism. “Socially, my son could not verbalize or communicate well with other children,” he says. “It was tough. As a parent, you have dreams of your child being the next president of the United States or a CEO. What I’ve learned with autism is I just want my kids to be as good as they could be—whatever that is. If my autistic son works at the library stacking books and is happy, I’ll feel more successful than if he were a CEO and miserable.”