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PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia University awarded Tommy Hilfiger its 2011 Spirit of Design award on Saturday night amidst the gilded grandeur of Philadelphia’s Academy of Music. The award, first given to Geoffrey Beene nine years ago, is presented to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the world of fashion and design. Past recipients have included Calvin Klein’s Francisco Costa, Mary McFadden and “Project Runway” season one winner Jay McCarroll.
Carson Kressley was tapped to present the award to Hilfiger, and kept the well-heeled crowd of Philly philanthropists and student designers entertained. After a video montage of Hilfiger’s ad campaigns, runway shows and celeb sightings set to Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” Kressley said, “Wow, that was like preppies gone wild. I just want to start drinking and start layering.” He earlier made a personal plea to Hilfiger, imploring, “Let me work on your ad campaign. Let me style it, or at least apply oil to the abs of those models.”
A decidedly more subdued Hilfiger graciously acknowledged the award via telecast, saying “Mentoring young people, improving their lives and providing for their futures is extremely important to me, and that is why this award is so meaningful.” Allen Sirkin, president and chief operating officer of Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., the parent company of Tommy Hilfiger, and a 1964 graduate of Philadelphia University, was on hand to accept the award.
The award was presented during the fashion show portion of Philadelphia University’s Evening of Innovation gala. The capstone runway show saw student works ranging from an ombré wedding dress to a Lichtenstein-inspired cut-out gown, which won Best of Show.
Dorothy Roberts of Echo Design Group and Tomio Taki of Takihyo — and former owner of Anne Klein and Donna Karan — received the Leader of Innovation Medal at the Spirit of Innovation gala following the fashion show.