News & Runway for Autism Speaks Launch: Nigel Barker, Toni Braxton, and Michael Costello Make Merry

On Friday, launched their "SheKnows Where's the Other Sock Went" campaign benefiting Autism Speaks. The women's lifestyle portal partnered with superstar Toni Braxton, Project Runway designer Michael Costello, and fashion photographer and America's Next Top Model judge Nigel Barker to raise money for the charity.

Costello designed a couture gown (scroll to the bottom) out of single pairs of socks donated by celebrities. Braxton then modeled the creation for the campaign, which was photographed by Barker.

An over-scheduled fashion week crowd turned out to glimpse the sock frock, see Costello's latest collection, and watch the campaign's star participants goofing around and living it up. Toni Braxton was bound to be the center of attention, but she solidified her place in the spotlight with a well-chosen violet gown, which had open shoulders and an asymmetrical sheer skirt.

Because I'm an ANTM junkie with a serious soft spot in my heart for judge Nigel Barker, I pulled the photographer aside to chat about the campaign and his upcoming projects.

"Whenever I get the opportunity to give back," Barker told me, "I try to. I love it if I can take a photo that can move people, interest people in subject matter they're not normally thinking about. Of course, [the cause] does affect millions of children all around the world. And I've got two kids of my own, and I see children that have various forms of autism at their school."

He mentioned that his second documentary, Dreams Are Not Forgotten, about life in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, might make its way to Cannes. And because I couldn't help myself, I then begged him to tell me why Angelea Preston was disqualified from the All-Stars cycle of America's Next Top Model.

"If you could give me a hint?" I said. "I would love to know, just personally."

"I'm sure you would," Barker said. "You're very cute. I would hate to have to kill you before the evening's up."

Thanks for humoring me, Nigel. And sorry to my fellow ANTM fans. I tried.

Images via Guest of a Guest