Two well known fashion luminaries from the Hamptons were honored at the Fashion Institute of Technology Commencement this weekend.
Wainscott‘s Fern Mallis, President of Fern Mallis LLC, was the commencement speaker and received FIT‘s President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement. Mallis created Fashion Week in New York City in 1993, under the auspices of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), where she served as executive director for 10 years. Known as 7th on Sixth, the event organized, centralized and modernized the American runways, allowing American designers to compete head to head with Milan and Paris, forever changing the global fashion business. IMG acquired 7th on Sixth in 2001 and Mallis became senior VP of IMG Fashion, leading new Fashion Weeks in Miami, Los Angeles, Berlin and Mumbai, and later added Sydney and Melbourne, among others, to its portfolio.
While at the CFDA from 1991 to 2001, Mallis promoted American fashion as a “recognized branch of American art and culture.” She oversaw CFDA Awards galas and was instrumental in the creation of Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, a campaign that has sold over $100 million in merchandise and has generated close to $100 million in donations for breast cancer organizations. She oversaw two editions of 7th on Sale, grossing more than $8 million for AIDS charities. Mallis directed the CFDA Foundation’s burgeoning philanthropic efforts to raise money for design scholarships and other initiatives.
Famed furrier Dennis Basso of Watermill, designer and founder of Dennis Basso, received an Honorary Degree. Marking his 30th anniversary this year, Basso began his fashion career as a fur designer, but has expanded his brand to include ready-to-wear, bridal and faux-fur collections, as well as a fragrance. His designs have appeared on socialites and A-list celebrities from Charlize Theron to Nicole Kidman, and have been featured in Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar. W. Dennis by Dennis Basso for QVC, celebrating its 20th year on air, made him a household name and brings his elegant outerwear and clothing to millions of women.