NEW YORK — It was a disparate group of industry notables that was honored by the Fashion Institute of Technology Alumni Association Wednesday evening at the home of diversity: the United Nations.
The annual dinner paid tribute to Peter Arnell, chairman and executive creative director of AG Worldwide, the marketing, advertising and design firm; Robert Villency, president and chief executive officer, and Eric Villency, vice president, of Maurice Villency, the national furniture retailer, and Niki Livas, senior vice president of Zum Zum, a junior apparel company.
With more than 350 people attending, the event raised $200,000 to benefit the FIT Scholarship and Educational Development Fund.
In accepting her award, Livas addressed current students and reflected on her own years at FIT.
“As a student, I wanted to be someone in the fashion industry,” she said. “And that dream came true for me.”
Taking his time at the podium, Arnell noted his range of experience working to design ads for clients such as Donna Karan, Samsung, Con Edison and the Fire Department of New York. On cue, guests looked out the window to find a FDNY boat saluting him with fire hoses on the Hudson River.
Helping to run his family business, Eric Villency said he’s inspired by fashion and that shows in his custom-made furniture designs. His creations have appeared in many fashion magazines, including W and Harper’s Bazaar.
“We use the fashion industry as our model,” he stressed. “We create what we think a fashion designer would create.”