Byline: Julie Naughton

NEW YORK — “This is the worst year ever in retail — being named retailer of the year in this climate is like being named the best-dressed person on Mr.Blackwell’s worst-dressed list or beating out Linda Tripp for the Dale Carnegie Friend of the Year Award,” cracked Hal Kahn, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy’s East, as he accepted the Retailer of the Year award from L’Oreal USA’s Philip Shearer at the 26th annual March of Dimes Million Dollar Beauty Ball.
The event, held Wednesday night at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, raised $1,213,500 for the March of Dimes. The take is comparable with last year’s total and the attendance of well over 700 people exceeded last year’s by about 100 people.
“In the last 20 years, I think I’ve worked for, with or in healthy competition with everyone in this room,” said John Demsey, president of MAC Cosmetics, as he accepted the Beautiful Apple Award from his boss, Leonard Lauder, chairman of the Estee Lauder Cos. “It is a real tribute for a company as young as MAC to be recognized as a charitable leader.” He also thanked his parents, Joe and Renee Demsey, who “weren’t quite sure that I could make a living selling lipstick.”
The imaginative table decorations and glittering ambience of the Waldorf ballroom seemed in contrast to the jittery mood of the industry. Lauder remarked, “2001 promises to be the year of lightning change. We have got to have our eyes wide open in order to recognize them and keep up. Stay tuned.”