Byline: David Moin

NEW YORK — Retailing might be in a malaise, but not the fund-raising spirit. With May Co. chief executive Gene Kahn the honoree and a huge crowd of 2,200, the Parsons School of Design Fashion Critics Award Benefit on April 17 raised a record $3.7 million to support scholarships and school programs. It doubled the old record.
“Tonight truly affirms the power of genuine commitment and real teamwork,” Kahn told the crowd. “When you truly believe in something and carry it in your heart, you accept no excuse and only results.”
Aside from galvanizing the industry around a cause, the annual black-tie event is a rite of passage for the graduating class of the design school, made all the more festive by the student fashion show that features garments created under the guidance of designers. Esmerelda Panayotarou and Kyoung Lim Kim were named student designers of the year, and the themes of the show were Hollywood inspired, from “The Perfect Storm” to “Bonnie and Clyde.” The showstopper was the outrageously fun and oversized Louis XIV grand finale.
Equally elegant yet subtle was an attention to detail that permeated the evening. The May Co. team had satin seat cushions and the table florals made especially for the event, and Kahn flew in days before to sample the menu.
“Every beautiful detail in this room reflects their fine hand,” noted Arnold Aronson, chairman of the Parsons Board of Governors.