It was about fashion and charity Sunday as local entrepreneurs and philanthropists Mandy Kao and Nihala Zakaria celebrated their birthdays at the Galleria’s BCBG store.  “I’m a real estate developer, so this is completely different for me,” said Kao, whose Mandy Kao Foundation assists with after-school programs and refugee women.

Special guest Mika took to the stage, sharing her experience as a refugee from Burma who spent ten years in a camp in Thailand before arriving to Houston and getting into college, where she currently studies chemistry. “She’s like my fairy-godmother,” the young student said of Kao.

Local fashion bloggers modeled BCBG outfits while friends of the birthday girls noshed on macarons and tried on the brand’s new fall collection. Hot items included bejeweled devil’s horns, the Upas jacket, and white Tristan apron pants, in addition to Runway Collection fur stoles and clutches.  “This is about empowering women and making them feel good about themselves, making them feel beautiful,” Kao said.

Fifteen percent of sales proceeds were donated to Linking the World, an international humanitarian aid organization, to assist with efforts in war-torn Gaza.

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