NEW YORK — At its annual gala Monday night, the Fashion Institute of Technology honored Saks Fifth Avenue and its new president Marc Metrick and Edwin Goodman, the longtime FIT board member and grandson of the founder of Bergdorf Goodman, and had something further to celebrate — its first new academic building in 48 years.
“It’s a $148 million, 10-story building, with 100,000 square feet. We’ll break ground in late 2016 and open for business in 2019,” said Joyce Brown, Ph.D., president of FIT, disclosing the details about the project, which will soon be taking shape on 28th Street in a vacant space on campus.
The event, at Cipriani 42nd Street, raised $1.3 million for the school, and drew a crowd of 620, including Liz Rodbell, Pete Scotese, Dennis Basso, Bob D’Loren, Josie Natori, Pam Baxter, Stephen Kolb, Linda Fargo, Michelle Stein, Lisa Perry, Jerry Chazen, Jill Granoff, Fern Mallis, Jay Baker, Elaine Hughes, Jeffrey Banks, Adrienne Vittadini, Monica Rich Kosann, Danielle DiFerdinando, Amsale Aberra and cast members from “Orange is the New Black.” Debi Mazar, the master of ceremonies, welcomed the crowd with a largely unscripted speech that ranged from domestic production to the Medicis and sewing classes.
A gracious Goodman described Saks as a “great store, competing in a spirited way with Bergdorf’s, like the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.” He said he believed in “the transformative power of education” and that in the 19 years he’s served on the FIT board, the school has granted 60,000 degrees, with 85 percent of each graduating class finding a job within the first 12 months of leaving school.
Metrick, who keynoted FIT’s commencement this year, spoke about the importance of building relationships and the “seismic” shifts in retailing, and said that he was “so proud to be leading Saks Fifth Avenue.” He also credited FIT for training “the next generation of leaders.”