Dennis Basso, John and Laura Pomerantz, and QVC to Be Honored at FIT’s Annual Gala

Gala to Be Held in the Grand Ballroom at The Plaza on Monday, May 9, 2016 

QVC Announces New FIT International Scholarship Program

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and the FIT Foundation will honor Dennis BassoJohn and Laura Pomerantz, and QVC at FIT’s annual gala, which will take place on Monday, May 9, 2016, in the Grand Ballroom at The Plaza in New York. The black-tie event will begin with cocktails at 7 pm, followed by the program and dinner. 

FIT alumnus Dennis Basso will be honored with the Designer of the Year Award for his outstanding creative vision and exceptional 30-year career in the industry. John and Laura Pomerantz will be honored with the Patrons of the Year Award for their longstanding commitment to FIT. Global video and e-commerce retailer QVC will be honored with the Retailer of the Year Award for its pioneering efforts.

This year’s gala chairs are Pamela Baxter, Joy Herfel Cronin, Yaz Hernández, Jane Hertzmark Hudis, and Elizabeth T. Peek. Stefano Tonchi is honorary chair.

“We are thrilled to bring together and honor some of the industry’s most important leaders,” said Dr. Joyce F. Brown, president of FIT. “Our honorees truly understand the importance of nurturing and supporting the next generation of creative talent. Their ongoing commitment to the FIT community is critical to our success.”

Dennis Basso is an exemplar of realizing and sustaining a creative vision and an outstanding career in fashion design. Showcasing his collection in his Madison Avenue flagship boutique, he beautifully and elegantly dresses a breadth of women, from First Lady Michelle Obama to socialites and celebrities from around the globe to consumers all across the United States and United Kingdom through his line with QVC. His craftsmanship and attention to detail express quality and luxury, and his business acumen defines what it means to become—and remain—successful in the fashion industry. A proud graduate of FIT, Basso received a State University of New York honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree at FIT’s commencement exercises in 2013. He is currently mentoring final-semester Fashion Design students as they prepare for the highly regarded Future of Fashion runway show on May 5.

Laura and John Pomerantz, iconic and beloved figures in the fashion industry, have demonstrated a decades-long dedication to FIT by nurturing student creativity and opportunity. The Pomerantz name is one of the most significant in the fashion industry, and the Pomerantz family is part of FIT’s legacy. John is trustee emeritus of the FIT Board of Trustees and was presented the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. He is the former chairman and CEO of the women’s clothing line Leslie Fay and is currently president and CEO of JJP Advisory. Laura is vice chairman and head of strategic accounts at Cushman & Wakefield, and a principal and founding partner of Laura Pomerantz Real Estate. With 20 years of executive-level commercial real estate experience and a significant background in retail and manufacturing as the executive vice president of the Leslie Fay Companies for 18 years, she often lends her expertise to students in FIT’s Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology. One of FIT’s buildings—the Fred P. Pomerantz Art and Design Center—is named for John’s father, founder of Leslie Fay. Industry leaders William T. Dillard II, chairman and chief executive officer of Dillard’s, and Abbey Doneger, president and chief executive officer of The Doneger Group, will present the award to John and Laura Pomerantz.

Standing for quality, value, and convenience, QVC is the world’s leading video and e-commerce retailer. Through its broadcast operations in the U.S., Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, France, and a joint venture in China, it reaches approximately 350 million homes worldwide. QVC has fostered the growth of some of today’s most successful brands and provides a platform for designers and entrepreneurs to tell their unique story to millions of consumers. Because they believe in the transformative power of education and in the talent that is nurtured at FIT, QVC is establishing a scholarship fund at FIT that will provide seven scholarships a year of $5,000 each for four years to students who come from the countries in which QVC operates. Jill Martin, contributor to NBC’s TODAY and creative director of QVC’s G.I.L.I. got it love it® contemporary fashion and accessories line, will present the Retailer of the Year Award to QVC CEO Mike George.

The 2015 FIT gala honored Edwin A. Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. Other past honorees include FIT trustee and FIT Foundation chairman (and former Kohl’s president) Dr. Jay H. Baker; Bergdorf Goodman’s Linda Fargo; jewelry designer, philanthropist, and FIT trustee Joan Hornig; George Kaufman, chairman, Kaufman Organization, and FIT trustee; Kay Krill, Ascena Retail Group board member, and former president and chief executive officer, ANN INC.; Stefano Tonchi, editor-in-chief, W magazine; William P. Lauder, executive chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.; William T. Dillard III, vice president, Dillard’s, Inc.; Thomas M. (Tim) Belk, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, Belk, Inc.; John (Johnny) R. Belk, president and chief operating officer, Belk, Inc.; Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president, and chief executive officer, Macy’s, Inc.; Roger N. Farah, co-chief executive officer, Tory Burch LLC and former president and chief executive officer, Ralph Lauren Corporation; and Vera Wang, chairman and chief operating officer, Vera Wang Inc. 


Fashion Institute of Technology, a college of the State University of New York, has been a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology for more than 70 years. With a curriculum that provides a singular blend of hands-on, practical experience, classroom study, and a firm grounding in the liberal arts, FIT offers a wide range of outstanding programs that are affordable and relevant to today’s rapidly changing industries. Internationally renowned, FIT draws on its New York City location to provide a vibrant, creative community in which to learn. The college offers nearly 50 majors and grants AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees, preparing students for professional success and leadership in the global marketplace.  


Started in 1944, when apparel industry leaders obtained a charter to establish a “fashion institute of design and technology,” the FIT Foundation was created to nurture and educate the future leaders of the fashion industry. Today, the FIT Foundation serves as an advisory and fundraising body to FIT. Board members, who include today’s leaders and innovators, serve on panels and appear as special lecturers, enabling students to meet outstanding representatives from the fields of industrial production, labor, design, merchandising, and the arts. The special relationship between the college and foundation creates valuable opportunities to share knowledge and experience.

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