1,250 Attend YMA Annual Gala

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It takes industry figures who are both adored and respected — and a touch of celebrity — to bring 1,250 people out on a frigid January evening. And just what the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund did at its 2007 Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Marriott Marquis on Wednesday night.

The audience sprang to its feet in appreciation after Penney’s CEO Myron Ullman introduced honoree Ken Hicks, Penney’s president and chief merchant, for his honor, and many teared up as retired Liz Claiborne CEO Paul Charron took his turn in introducing Karen Murray, who was recognized for her business acumen, counseling ability and for her philanthropic work. And the third honoree, Paula Abdul, arrived fashionably late, although apparently on schedule, and caught everyone’s attention with her off-the-shoulder black gown and in-tow video crew.

Above, from top to bottom: Warnaco’s Frank Tworecke was among those paying tribute to Murray, who overcame a jewelry emergency just before showtime; Neema’s Jim Ammeen compared notes with red-tied (but not tongue-tied) Robert Haas; OP’s Dick Baker reminisced about the good old days at Federated with former colleague, and Foot Locker CEO, Matt Serra; and honoree Paula Abdul cuddles with Paul Rosengard of Perry Ellis as the night draws to a close.

See 90 more YMA photos, click here to visit Schmoozing.

Charron, now officially 10 days into his retirement, mused on the how he explained the term “emeritus” to some offshore business associates, translating it loosely as “washed up and over the hill.”  And, while one President Bush was on television explaining new policy in Iraq, Hicks revealed to MRketplace.com that it was the other President Bush, George H.W., then a Congressman, who sponsored Hicks’s appointment to West Point prior to his retail career.

Yet, for the high density of luminaries in the audience, the real stars of the night were the dozens of YMA scholarship recipients who were included in the event, many of them clutching resumes and equipped with high hopes for the future. Besides, after the industry folk had headed home, the scholars stayed and played while a DJ spun tunes, some of them even current!

-Arnold J. Karr

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