Dorothy Roberts, Paul Cohen and Lynn Roberts at FABB.

NEW YORK — The accessories industry had quite a bit to talk about at the 16th annual Fashion Accessories Benefit Ball Wednesday night in the middle of market week.<BR><BR>Neither the National Anthem nor a welcoming speech by FABB founder and...

NEW YORK — The accessories industry had quite a bit to talk about at the 16th annual Fashion Accessories Benefit Ball Wednesday night in the middle of market week.

Neither the National Anthem nor a welcoming speech by FABB founder and chairman Reenie Brown could quiet guests. But when it came to award the night’s honorees, the more than 800 people who filled the ballroom at the Marriott Marquis here were dutifully attentive.

Macy’s West, Nine West accessories and Elle magazine received FABB Achievement Awards.

Ruth Hartman, senior vice president and general merchandise manager, accepted for Macy’s West, saying: “The accessories department has led the entire store in sales growth.”

Her statement echoed what Brown said earlier: “This has been the most exciting accessories season ever, especially for handbags.”

The evening raised about $500,000 for The Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, No More Homeless Pets (a program of The Mayor’s Alliance and the ASPCA) and Americares for Tsunami Relief. FABB has raised more than $9 million for charities throughout the years, Brown said.

The event usually attracts 1,000 guests as well as a handful of celebrities, but this year, attendance was down and the stars were absent.

“There’s been so much consolidation in retail,” Brown said, “that there’s fewer people [in the industry].”

Nevertheless, guests included R.J. Graziano; Adrienne Landau; Paige Novick, creative design director of Nine West accessories; Mark Talucci, founder of The Sak, and Rhonda Brown, president and chief executive officer of Nine West.

This story first appeared in the May 9, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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