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The Palm Beach Civic Association held its Annual Award Luncheon on January 15, 2017 at The Breakers in Palm Beach. Iconic fashion designer, entrepreneur and philanthropist Tommy Hilfiger, who launched one of the world’s most recognized lifestyle brands in 1985, was the Keynote Speaker.

Michele Kessler was Chair of the Event Planning Committee, which included Bob Wright, Chairman and CEO of the Palm Beach Civic Association; George Cohon, and Robert Nederlander.  

A number of special guests in the audience were recognized, including, among others, Town of Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio; Town Council President Michael Pucillo; Town Council Members Richard Kleid, Dani Moore and Maggie Zeidman; and Palm Beach County Commissioner Hal Valeche.

The event, which drew 300 guests, began with a VIP reception (See photos here) where sponsors and donors gathered before the main event in the Venetian Ballroom.  Mr. Wright welcomed the guests and presented Beth Walton, President and CEO of the Town of Palm Beach United Way, with the William J. “Bill” Brooks Community Service Award in recognition of her civic and philanthropic contributions to the community, which have significantly improved the quality of life for those in need.

Mr. Wright then introduced Mr. Hilfiger, who shared stories from “American Dreamer,” his recently released memoir about his career in the fashion business highlighting the early years when he began selling jeans as a high school student in his hometown of Elmira, New York and grew his brand into a $6 billion empire. 

Considered the pioneer of “classic American cool," Mr. Hilfiger demonstrated his signiture style by donning red slacks and a navy blazer. His presentation with high-energy videos illustrated how he created one of the world’s most recognized lifestyle brands, inspired by music, pop culture and Americana heritage, and how he keeps it relevant with strategic partnerships. The award-winning designer also discussed the future of retail, e-commerce, and the importance of philanthropy.

Through the global organization, TommyCares, the Tommy Hilfiger Company supports international initiatives and charities including Save the Children, Autism Speaks, and the World Wildlife Fund.  Over the last 20 years, his foundation has donated more than $50 million to causes and organizations around the world.  He and his wife, Dee, sit on the board of Autism Speaks along with Mr. Wright, who founded the organization with his late-wife, Suzanne.

Following the luncheon, Hilfiger signed copies of his book, which were given to each guest at the luncheon.  

The 2017 Annual Awards Luncheon was sponsored by First Republic Bank, The Breakers, and Michele and Howard Kessler, who hosted and sponsored the by-invitation Underwriters Dinner following the luncheon.

 Event Keynote Presentation Video [15:15] Click Below to Play Video

 Q&A With Tommy Hilfiger & Bob Wright [5:57] Click Below to Play Video

Press About the Event

Fashion forward: Tommy Hilfiger discusses future of retail at Breakers (Palm Beach Daily News)

United Way CEO Beth Walton wins community service award (Palm Beach Daily News)

Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger attends Palm Beach Civic Association Annual Award Luncheon (WPTV-NBC5)


Photos: Capehart Photagraphy

2017 Annual Award Luncheon - January 16, 2017