Friday, May 17, 2013

American Apparel Footwear Association's Annual Image Awards

Intrepid,  Sea, Air& Space Museum, West Side Highway/46th Street/NYC

The 35th annual American Apparel Footwear Association's (AAFA) Image Awards paid tribute first and foremost to the men and women in our armed services ...past and present...with the record evening's proceeds ($1.3 million+) ---benefiting the charity partner, Wounded Warriors.

the Intrepid-a decommissioned battleship-now an amazing museum ... honors its fallen heroes

This event is always memorably incredible---and this year's tribute to celebrate the "exemplary leadership, innovation and outstanding achievement in all sectors of the apparel and footwear industries forward-from education to design, to manufacturing and retailing..." was also a poignant reminder how much this industry is so intricately connected with our military...outfitting our troops from head to toe in mandated- Made In America life-saving uniforms, protective/durable footwear and gear.

several local Army servicemen in attendance with Phillip C.  Williamson Chairman of AAFA+CEO/Chair Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing (left)

Peter Cincotti-Singer/Songwriter/Pianist
The evening began for us with a few pics of of noted names in attendance...but there were hundreds of distinguished guests including some AAFA members from the more than 1000 world famous name brands  (employing four million U.S. workers and contributing $350 billion in annual sales, fyi).
Wide Receiver-Plaxico Burgess-we didn't exactly recognize him out of his Pittsburgh Steelers uniform but he def. turned heads

Designer Rachel Roy with President and CEO-AAFA Kevin M. Burke

Rachel Roy designs her own namesake line- and the immensely popular RachelRachel Roy at Macy's though we presume-not this iconic handbag

Lot's of photographs were taken of Army guests and why not-who doesn't love a man in a uniform
LTC Daniel E. Harris, Battalion Commander-369th Special Troops Battalion with Debi Mazar -actress (middle) and the fab Tony award winning-singer/actress/author (and devoted animal righter via Broadway Barks) Ozone Park native-  Bernadette Peters who served as event emcee 

Debi Mazar, Brian Stokes Mitchell-another Tony award winner Broadway superstar and event emcee-with Bernadette Peters
On the way to where the dinner was served----several Air Force planes were exhibited in this massive ship.

That's right, an authentic space capsule-how many bars have that as a backsplash?

Phillip C. Williamson AAFA Chairman remarked on how the extraordinary mission of  charity partner, Wounded Warrior ---giving double meaning to the AAFA's slogan, "...we wear our mission"

beautiful floral arrangements-a nice contrast to all the hard grey surfaces

table setting-not overdone-well done though!
Actor Bill Pullman was the keynote speaker who started his remarks with a quip about how is is the highest ranking (fake) military person in attendance-having served as Commander in Chief two times including the hit movie Independence Day---and now on TV's 1600 Penn. Plus --his father a Navy doctor...

Full house...

left-LTC Daniel E. Harris, Battalion Commander-369th Special Troops Battalion + Karen Bromley of TBG Group-the event producer. Well done! 

TBG team with Bill Pullman+Tamara Hurwitz Pullman

Karen Bromley with Army officers and a happy spouse!

One of the best event photographer's ever! Robert Mitra.

The West Point Alumni Glee Club---sang our National Anthem---and also entertained with the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines' signature tunes.

Yes, the medals all represent achievements earned and are in exact order

The Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP®) is a non-profit (no government funds either) , nonpartisan organization dedicated to supporting military service members as they heal from the effects of battle-both physical wounds and mental trauma. It provides critical programs and services to assist our now all volunteer military members-every step of the way on their road to recovery- via holistic support and resources needed to heal their wounds--- 

All ears on deck when WWP® spokesperson and proud veteran Dan Nivens recounted  his bravery serving in Iraq---and experiences as wounded serviceman- how his life-changing injury---and initial feelings of aloneness and utter despair---slowly started to lift upon receiving a signature WPP® backpack  filled with customized UA essentials and information to help Wounded Warriors and their families get involved in WWP's 18 innovative and vital program offerings...delivered by a veteran soldier/WWP teammate him (her)self. BTW label Under Armour currently has a program set up where one can donate a backpack to a Wounded Warrior.

Retired Staff Sgt Dan Nivens concluded his comments with the striking details of how he now relates to the soldier on the bottom of the logo---not the soldier being carried. AND now is  Director of Warrior Speak-at WWP®---

A YouTube...reminds all of the sacrifices our soldiers make to keep us safe...

New Balance-founded in 1906 by William Riley-as the New Balance Arch Company in Boston Mass.- makes technical+ performance and lifestyle footwear and apparel. And we might add, at the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow...has a VERY popular catering gig going on---always a line too.

Former Senator Scott Brown -introduced Rob DeMartini, President +CEO of New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.

We know Brown from triathlon competitions---including the Nationals

Tamara Hurwitz Pullman and Bill Pullman-enjoying remarks

In a way, Brown looks like he stepped out of central casting himself.

honored Brand of the Year New Balance's President + CEO DeMartini on left spoke very eloquently about his company's serious initiatives to make/assemble/manufacture New Balance kicks in the USA...

Both Massachusetts men commented on the recent bombing tragedy in Boston ---bravo to New Balance for their $1 million donation to the One Fund Boston to provide relief for victims. That got a big round  of applause. And even though we were pretty sure there were more NY Ranger fans (us too)  attending-then Boston Bruins' supporters-all, no doubt agreed a proud time to be an American.

Tory Burch, CEO Tory Burch introduced the duo of leading Saks Fifth Avenue men  by first mentioning what an amazing store it is- AND its massive shoe department "...with its own 10022-SHOE zip code. What women wouldn't want to call that zip code home..." Agreed.

waiting in the wings-Ronald Frasch, President Saks Fifth Avenue (back/right) and Steve Sadove, Chairman+CEO Saks FIfth Avenue (front/left)

Frasch jokingly referenced Tory Burch's beginnings when she was a customer with a vision/mission at his former employ-Bergdorf Goodman. "How many times have we heard that...?" his thought after Burch relayed her desire to start her own line. Clearly she -and he-saw that "...she was onto something..."

Steve Sadove-Tory Burch-Sadove thanks so many peole in his opening remarks, the very witty Frasch also joked about how he had no one left to thank...but came up OF COURSE, with kudos to his wife...etc.

Ed Nardoza intros Rebecca Minkoff with a funny antidote about the designer's first handbag-a breakthrough satchel dubbed "The Morning After"---crafted for actress Jenna Elfman who was about to film a movie and needed a carry-all. PLUS how spot-on to intuitively capture the zeitgeist of modern day gals who covet the brand's-handbags and apparel.

as the saying goes---a dress that's party on the back, business on the front-we saw this view first and thought how amazing---then saw it belonged to honoree Rebecca Minkoff. No wonder so fab! We note-this dress would look great on many women of different sizes and shapes-including gals about to be moms. IMO.

waiting to be introduced, fashion modern day icon Rebecca Minkoff and CEO (and brother) Uri Minkoff

proud employees of Rebecca Minkoff including President  Elissa Skala-Bromer

IMO-Not too many guys can rock this look- Uri Minkoff- can. He made a terrific acceptance speech recounting how his grandfather Ben Minkoff served as a WWII fighter pilot and was shot down twice...and how determined to fight for his country-not letting a six month coma get in the way of a new assignment. We chatted with him afterwards where he told us his grandfathered lied about his age on his military enrollment papers-knocking off five years so he could enlist. WOW.

Ken Hicks-President+CEO of Foot Locker with Wes Card CEO, The Jones Group-all smiles now but apparently locked horns when the honoree, Card- was the CFO -prior to being CEO. Nice moment was Card sharing stories about his older brother-who served proudly ---and how poignant a trip to Ground Zero was- they took together. And we might add-busy guy with many philanthropic leadership roles.

Saks Fifth Avenue very generously donated gift cards for all...

Bryan Boy Fashion Blogger (right)-shares a Kodak moment
This was the first charity event we ever went to where the honorees including the celeb names---stayed on after the dinner was over to entourages---but clearly a groundswell of support for what actor Bill Pullman had earlier remarked on---how we have the greatest military in the world that keeps us safe.
Bernadette Peters, Tamara Hurvitz Pullman, Bill Pullman

Brian Stokes Mitchell---and a guest

Minkoff supporters including model Alyssa Miller wearing---what else!?!

Uri Minkoff-great haircut too

all smiles, ---we asked Rebecca Minkoff about her grandmother-who she lovingly cited as a very fashionable lady ...and interesting tidbit to us- how she became involved in the night's festivities: "They (AAFA) wrote me a letter-a real one..." Love that.

Brian Stokes Mitchell, Karen Bromely, Bill Pullman

AAFA -a trade association delivering a unified voice -standing for positive change and promoting best practices- in an industry that is changing as rapidly as any.

The Intrepid is docked in the Hudson night -a sparkling view of NJ.