Alzheimer’s Association Honors Nina Garcia at 2017 Rita Hayworth Gala

Last night, ELLE’s Editor-in-Chief Nina Garcia was honored with the Champion Award at the 34th annual Alzheimer’s Association Rita Hayworth Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street.

In a moving tribute, Garcia shared that her mother battled Alzheimer’s for eight years before passing away in October 2004. The leader of the family and the embodiment of confidence, Garcia’s mother instilled in her a love for fashion.

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“She never let the overwhelming difficulties in her life get in the way of her passions or doing the right thing and supporting those whom she loved,” Garcia said. “It wasn’t until she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s that I really understand the gravity of that responsibility. Her disease put everything into context.”

“People don’t really share or communicate how they’ve dealt with the disease,” Garcia added in a video played before her acceptance speech “I think by sharing what I’ve lived through, it’s opening a door and getting that message out.”

Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, Tim Gunn and Nina Garcia.


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This year’s gala raised two million dollars for research and the care of families affected by Alzheimer’s through ticket sales, a silent auction, and a donating spree led by designer Robert Verdi. Started by Princess Yasmin Aga Kahn in memory of her mother, the iconic Rita Hayworth, the annual event also serves to increase involvement and awareness of the wide impact of the disease. Per the Alzheimer’s Association’s site, five million Americans are currently diagnosed, almost two-thirds of which are women, and 15 million Americans are caregivers.

Karyn Kornfeld, Daryl Simon, Tim Gunn, Nina Garcia and Robin Meltzer at the gala.


The cause was personal for gala co-chairs Daryl Simon, Robin Meltzer and Karyn Kornfeld, presenter Tim Gunn, Verdi and Aga Khan as well, who have all witnessed loved ones struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

To donate to the Alzheimer’s Association to support research of the disease, click here.