FIT Annual Gala Raises $4.5 Million

FIT held its Annual Awards Gala on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, at the Marriott Marquis with cocktails beginning at 6 PM. The event which honored CEO of Macy’s, Inc., Terry Lundgren, was with more than 1,700 people gathering for cocktails and dinner to celebrate FIT and outgoing CEO Terry Lundgren. Lundgren has been Macy’s CEO for the past 14 years, and is being replaced by Jeff Gennette, who is currently Macy’s president.

All photos Lieba Nesis

Ralph Lauren, New Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette, Tina Lundgren & Ricky Lauren

Lundgren was the star of the evening with fashion luminaries such as Anna Wintour, Ralph Lauren, Fern Mallis, Andrew Rosen and Vera Wang attending to pay homage to this fashion giant who founded The Terry Lundgren center for Retailing at the University of Arizona. While tonight Terry was busy, I was fortunate to bump into him this past Monday at a Carnegie Hall function where we were able to talk. Terry told me that today’s fashion industry was a very different place, with consumers currently spending on health care, technology, Spotify and housing renovations instead of clothing.

Olympian Evan Lysacek, Vera Wang and President of Sean John Jeff Tweedy

He recounted his background as a buyer for Bullock’s, becoming CEO of Neiman Marcus and later moving to Macy’s. Macy’s now operates more than 700 stores under the nameplates Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s and approximately 125 specialty stores. Terry proudly boasted that Macy’s was the sixth largest retailer in America and that when he became CEO in 2003 the internet business was a minuscule couple of million; whereas now Macy’s has a multibillion dollar internet presence and sales of $26 billion per year. He noted he would remain executive chairman of Macy’s and was weighing options concerning his future career trajectory.

Jean Shafiroff, President of FIT Joyce Brown, & B Michael

Lundgren has an overwhelming stature with movie star looks and all the right friends with Ryan Seacrest hosting the dinner and Puff Daddy, John Varvatos, and Ken Chenault appearing via film to laud his accomplishments. His beautiful wife Tina commented that he has manners and grace “without a hair out of place” and then joked that it was annoying.

Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour, clad in a floral coat, spoke about Terry and how she admired that, “while most people will attend an opening Terry is one of the few who opens his checkbook.” Terry also has a great sense of humor thanking Anna Wintour and Ralph Lauren for coming and stating they were so iconic they were readily identifiable by their first names.

Beatles cover band the Hofners at the cocktail party

He also thanked Ryan Seacrest, who he said was more than just a pretty face, as he has brought great educational programs to America such as “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” seeing their potential before others did – adding that Seacrest suits were only available at Macy’s.

David Lauren

Lundgren expounded on the importance of education noting that neither one of his parents nor his five siblings attended college and he considered graduating University of Arizona a pivotal moment in his life. Lundgren thanked his wife for never allowing him to be complacent and praised his two daughter’s one of whom recently welcomed a child. Terry announced that $4.5 million was raised this evening for FIT and The Terry Lundgren Center for Retailing to which he received a standing ovation.

Chef Daniel Boulud presenting Terry and Tina Lundgren
with birthday cake and Ryan Seacrest

Being that tomorrow was Lundgren’s 65th birthday, and ironically he was handing over the CEO reins the next morning to Gennette, chef Daniel Boulud presented Lundgren with a cake made from chocolate golf balls while Puff Daddy sang Happy Birthday via a movie screen. As the crowd rushed home at the early hour of 9:15 PM, I grabbed a Macy’s goody bag which contained a scarf, tie, cream and other condiments – a rewarding conclusion to a powerful evening.

– Lieba Nesis

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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