FIT Holds Annual Gala at the Museum of Natural History

Dennis Basso and Dr. Joyce Brown
All photos Lieba Nesis

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) held its Annual Awards Gala on Wednesday April 3rd at The American Museum of Natural History with cocktails beginning at 6:30 PM. The theme of this year’s black-tie event was “Innovation in Sustainability” celebrating FIT’s commitment to preparing the sustainable design and business pioneers of the future.

Host Amber Valleta

This evening which was held to benefit the FIT Foundation which provides scholarship funds to students and develops new initiatives was organized in conjunction with FIT’s Sustainable Business and Design Conference which is taking place on April 3rd and 4th.

Alec and Hilaria Baldwin, Joyce Brown, Kristina Johnson and Carl Mc Cal

The opportunity to occupy the Museum of Natural History, one of the grandest locations in Manhattan, with tickets starting at $2,500 is quite an achievement for a small institution that was founded in 1944 and which currently has more than 8,700 students with more than 17 majors being offered through the School of Art and Design.

Fern Mallis and Christopher Bevans

Well-known alumni of the school include Norma Kamali, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and film director Joel Schumacher. The evening reeked of elegance as well clad attendees, both men and women, strolled through the floors of the museum.

Laurent Claquin and Vanessa Friedman

This was a crowd that values fashion both for its aesthetic importance and its intrinsic significance. There were certainly some fashion heavyweights in the crowd including: Ken Downing, who recently stepped down from Neiman Marcus, Fern Mallis, Dennis Basso, Vanessa Friedman, Joe Zee, Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow, Susan and David Rockefeller, Liz Peek, Fe Fendi, Jean Shafiroff, Prince Dimitri, Christopher Bevans and David Hart.

Jean Shafiroff

Susan Rockefeller is all about the environment as she authored the ground-breaking book “Green at Work” that has been pivotal in ushering environmentally friendly jobs into nontraditional arenas. Moreover, Susan is Chairwoman of Oceana’s Ocean Council.

Alec and Hilaria Baldwin

Another Social Impact Entrepreneur, supermodel Amber Valetta, hosted while Alec and Hilaria Baldwin attended the cocktail party- it was Alec’s birthday and they were heading out to celebrate. The red carpet was replete with lovely ladies who were dressed to the nines including Couture Council Member and trustee Yaz Hernandez who was sporting an extremely chic new haircut along with a dazzling cocktail dress.

Angela Dotson, Eleanora Kennedy, Fe Fendi, Joyce Brown, Liz Peek and Yaz Fernandez

Yaz joined fellow trustees Liz Peek, Angela Dotson and Gigi Mortimer as they greeted Prince Dimitri one of the most elegant men in New York. Jean Shafiroff was similarly lovely in a show stopping green Victor dE Souza gown with matching gloves – she noted it was “chic to repeat” as she has worn this dress numerous times.

Erin Shea

The evening’s honorees were Nadja Swarovski who has spearheaded her company’s global sustainability efforts by adhering to ethically sound environmental standards; and Laurent Claquin, President of Kering Americas, who has similarly been a global leader in the sustainable fashion and luxury industries.

There were even some politicians in the mix including Chancellor of SUNY Kristina M. Johnson and former Comptroller Carl McCall- who was one of the most stylishly dressed people in the crowd. After a lengthy red carpet guests headed to the main room at 8 PM where a 94-foot-long blue whale waited for them in the famed “Hall of Ocean Life.”

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Lieba Nesis

My love of fashion, writing and photography were something that always dominated my lifestyle however it wasn't until I was approached by the editor of Lookonline that I realized I could utilize these three skills in combination.

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