Sunday, January 17, 2010


The Geoffrey Beene Fashion Award Scholarship Winners with Mary Alice Stephenson and Tom and Mara Hutton


Cipriani Forty Second Street. NYC

January 13th, 2010

Words, Images J. Ecochard

WHAT: A sold out crowd of retailers, manufacturers, and service industry types (well dressed of course, this was a fashion industry event)…

… packed the huge Cipriani 42nd Street event space, raising glass or two to the 110 scholarship winners ($5000 apiece) of the the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF). Triumphantly marched into the dinner, Olympic ceremony style, with placards from 28 schools--- including prestigious Ivy League institutions to top design schools--- the young scholarship winners were the celebrity stars that night.

What else was raised… over $1.4 million that very night as the dinner is a major source of funds for the FSF. And in a challenging economic environment…100% of all scholarship winners secured internship positions too. BRAVO.

Ernest Felton Baker II - a 2009, YoungArts Finalist and Presidential Scholar In The Arts raises the House

The evening also honored three individuals: Margarita Arriagada, SVP of Merchandising at Sephora, Thomas A. Kingsbury, President & CEO of Burlington Coat Factory, and major philanthropist and second winner of FSF’s Lifetime Achievement Award- Robert L. Mettler, former Chairman and CEO Macy’s West.

Kenneth Wyse, Robert Mettler, Margarita Arriagada, Thomas Kingsbury (L-R)

We got to take a few pics of the honorees, scholarship winners, and Board members prior to the actual sit down dinner…

Waiting in the wings...

Kenneth Wyse, President of Licensing and Public Relations of Phillips Van-Heusen and current President of the FSF--- was as wowed by the scholarship winners as we were. Out of the hundreds of applicants, a select, eight potential winners- of the major $25,000 Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Award (announced later) “…are all young people who in three to five years could all have strategic positions at major corporations.”


Our future is assured, “ Wyse added, “…as all these students are thoughtful, thorough, and possess an abundance of critical thinking and research abilities.”

We also had a nice chat with the wonderful (and clearly hard working) Board member Colleen Kelly, President of Tommy Hilfinger.

Kelly was equally as enthused as her colleagues with the three top tier interns slated for summer positions at Tommy Hilfinger. These individuals earned the jobs based on their abilities to “re-invent and reinterpret the brand with a fresh tint.”

We were so impressed with Ms. Kelly’s enthusiasm for the winners- that we cannot wait for the Tommy Hilfiger runway show, the finale of the upcoming New York Mercedes Benz Fashion Week---BECAUSE---the fruits of their labors---“will be seen in the February Fall 2010 Show.” YES!

And, as far as these events go, talking with the fiercely smart students is always a highlight.

Audra Noyes, a fashion design student at Savannah College of Art & Design, earned her 2009 FSF award with a women’s brand she nurtured, called OMNI---that serves up “a few key looks for every stage of her life” ---for gals in the 18-30 year old spectrum.

We loved how enthusiastic and so "on the money" Noyes is…as she clued us in how her generation brings to the table---“different viewpoints, different experiences” including pop culture references---that can perk up any brand.

PLUS: Like a pro, she told us her outfit---BCBG Runway, and a vintage Brooch.

We also had a quick conversation with Alexander Jacobs a 2010 FSF winner, and soon to be marketing intern at Tommy Hilfiger--- and a student at Washington University in St. Louis. A BS/BFA earner, Jacobs has the savvy marketable blend of business and fashion…and is set for the menswear side of things.

We stayed just long enough to hear the congenial fashion style expert (and fab, entertaining media panel moderator-no wonder she gets anointed for these positions) Mary Alice Stephenson (“Master of Ceremonies”) --make a few opening remarks and introduce the winners of the major Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards of $25,000.

Naturally, Stephenson looked amazing--- in Marchesa- she told us she paid for it too. Good for her, seriously.

FYI: According to Tom Hutton, President and CEO, Geoffrey Beene, LLC and Trustee & CEO, Geoffrey Beene Foundation--- “a 100% of net profits from Geoffrey Beene LLC fund philanthropic causes.” Talk about a “unique business model of corporate giving” ----that’s has led to contributions of over $145 million--- over the years--- to various charitable cause.

2010 FSF Scholarship Winners from Barnard College, Columbia University

We think---how perfect…as the American designer is a legend for his “refusal to follow the pack,” his pureness of design, and “the need for young talent to be nurtured and supported…because it’s all about the future.”

No coincidence--- two of our favorite fashion designers, Doo Ri Chung and Alber Elbaz (Lanvin) are former employees.

HISTORY: “The Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) is a national non-profit association consisting of influential members of the fashion community, dedicated to promoting education of the fashion arts, and business by granting scholarships to talented students and facilitating internships, mentorships and career programs.”


Dani Stahl, Nylon Magazine. Alex Gonzalez, AR New York