At New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Monday night, Calvin Klein said he doesn’t go back to his alma mater, the Fashion Institute of Technology, very often to speak to fledgling fashion designers.
“I should really do more of that,” he admitted.
Despite that, Klein was honored by the school as one of its outstanding alumni as it celebrated its 50th anniversary. Neiman Marcus’s Burt Tansky, who presented Klein with his award, just missed being acknowledged himself. His former employer, Bergdorf Goodman — a long-time supporter of FIT — was honored as “The Store That Makes the Difference.” Stephen Elkin, Bergdorf’s chairman and chief executive officer, and president, Dawn Mello, accepted the award at the event which raised $1.3 million. Mello — wearing a fire-engine red velvet 1970 Yves Saint Laurent gown — said she attended FIT in 1958 as a patternmaking and draping student.
“It was evident I was not going to be the next Mme. Grès, so I decided to take the easy road,” she said. “I went into retailing.”