Across a velvet rope straining like a rubber band, hundreds of fans and the odd celeb -- Oh, hey, Estelle, Tyson Beckford, Chris Brown, Patrick Demarchelier, and Chace Crawford! -- pressed toward her like inmates of some Charles Dickens madhouse paid an unexpected visit by Queen Victoria.
"She's signing T-shirts? Sign my T-shirt, Naomi," screamed one roundish young woman, pulling an Ed Hardy-like garment away from her skin like a shedding lizard. But that wasn't quite how it worked.
Dolce & Gabbana has collaborated with Campbell on a special edition of 14 T-shirts, each bearing an iconic image from her modeling career by a different photographer, to benefit her charity, Fashion for Relief. If you bought one for $200 at the Fashion's Night Out event, she would sign it.
"All the proceeds are going to the floods in Pakistan," Campbell told StyleList, when we finally sat down with her at the signing table, the rambunctious crowd yelling personal requests at her throughout. ("Tell him I don't take cards from men," she told one junior assistant conveying a plea from an eager gentleman who was wearing a white Yankees cap backward.)
"What happens with Fashion for Relief is we choose tragic things that happen, and right now Pakistan needs our help," she said.
"Last year, we benefited Haiti with shows in New York and London [Fashion Weeks], and in April, we did Russia for Russian children. We work with the White Ribbon Alliance [for Safe Motherhood], and the money went to help women and babies, with medicine, equipment, bedding, diapers, the training of midwives to deliver the babies. If you want to help, we have a list of things to buy [on the Fashion for Relief Web site] that go from $10 to $12,000."
Campbell said that people give for very personal reasons. Witness her own involvement with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. "My first modeling job in America was in New Orleans, for British Elle. So I saw on television what was happening to the people of New Orleans, and I said, 'Let's do something.' That was my connection. I don't do it for public adulation. I do it because I want to do it."
Speaking of what you want -- what cute looks are you feeling for fall?
"There's a fluffy leopard-skin coat here [in the Dolce & Gabbana store] that I do want to get!" she said brightly, and then lowered her voice as if she didn't want anyone to be listening. "But I'm waiting to shop until I get to Milan."
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