It was a hats-on night on April 14 when the members of the The Headwear Association gathered at The Boathouse in Central Park for their 108th annual dinner. This year’s event included their first-ever fashion show as Association members strutted through the dinner showing off styles from such manufacturers as Scala, Biltmore, Borsalino, Bailey, Kangol, Betmar, Stetson, Magid, F&M, Giovannio, Wallaroo, Broner, San Diego, Helen Kaminski, Brooklyn Hat, Santana, Larry Mahan, Justin, Steampunk Hatter, Ashbury Hats, Double G, Voodoo Hatter, Isaac Mizrahi and Dobbs. In addition, the Milliner’s Guild contributed 15 original hats to the show.
Among the highlights of the evening were the presentations of the Ben Rosenthal Award to Dorfman Pacific’s Arthur Gardner and the Retailer of the Year Award to the Panama Hat Company in St. Augustine, Florida. The 31-year-old family-run business, located in an 18th-century building, was founded by Ecuadorian immigrant Consuelo Lippi and is now co-owned by son Tony, both of whom were on hand and very grateful to receive the honor. Marveling on her long-time success, Conseulo remarked: “I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I started the business, I just didn’t know how to go about it.”
The Association also inducted its six new “Hall of Fame” inductees (none of whom were present): John Wayne, Usher, Justin Timberlake, Kate Hudson, Christina Aguilera, and Hedy Lamarr. In addition, a $100,000 scholarship fund was presented to the Fashion Institute of Technology, donated by S.H. Bail of Young An Hat Company.