By  on May 16, 2006

NEW YORK — The event called for creative black tie and accessories industry members responded — and then some — at the 17th annual Fashion Accessories Benefit Ball at Pier 60 here last week.

Barbara Raleigh, Etienne Aigner's vice president of jewelry design, wore a dress concocted of shredded black ribbons. "I found it in San Diego, of all places," she said.

Echo's Lynn Roberts donned a pair of modern silver Prada python Mary Janes. "Comfort is key, when it comes to these things," she said.

Guests also took to the event's new venue. It had been at the Marriott Marquis for the past 15 years.

"We were ready for a change," said Reenie Brown, chairman and founder of FABB. "People really seem to love Pier 60."

Although the night's Rising Accessories Star honoree, Paris Hilton, didn't show up without explanation, 800 other people did.

Ginny Johnson, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of Belk stores, presented the Retailer of the Year award to Belk co-president and chief merchandising officer McKay Belk.

Steve Madden received the Designer of the Year award, saying in his acceptance speech, "This sure beats where I was last year," referring to his stint in federal prison for money laundering and securities fraud.

Plaza Too owner John Mendes accepted the award for Best Accessory Chain.

"This is such an honor," said Mendes. "I'm so happy to accept this award."

The proceeds for the event, which were not disclosed, went to St. Jude's Research Hospital, the Sheila Block Accessories Council Fund for Leukemia Research and The Reenie Brown Scholarship.

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