- If it’s a seated event place cards are essential.
- Mix up the crowd, and don’t sit spouses next to each other.
- Invite new friends and different generations.
- Always be crowded.
- Themes are good, like a great topic to discuss during dinner.
- Hors d’oeuvres and dessert are great, because normally that’s what people eat. And, you save the time and trouble of a fancy dinner.
Taking place Friday, November 15 at the Grand Pavilion at the Dallas Trade Mart, Fashion Group International of Dallas’ annual Fashion & Lifestyle Awards Night of Stars Gala is a can’t-miss event for area fashion fans and industry insiders. Each year, accomplished designers in all career phases are recognized throughout the evening, from rising stars to internationally renowned names. Today, DFW Style Daily is honored to present an exclusive Q&A with Kay Unger, set to receive FGI’s Lifetime Achievement Award at next month’s gala. Counting First Ladies and Hollywood stars among her loyal clients, Unger’s career spans over 40 years and multiple successful companies. She also serves on the Parsons Board of Governors, and is a dedicated supporter of and fundraiser for cancer care and research. Read on for Kay Unger’s thoughts on this upcoming honor in her own words, plus insights on building a brand, the power of philanthropy, and much more. Neiman Marcus and knowing Chuck through that venue, is an additional opportunity to give back for me. My Dallas friends and customers are very close to my heart. “Then there is FGI, having been past president of the entire organization. It was a ground- breaking experience for me and the organization when we began the initiative making the Night of Stars Gala a philanthropic opportunity. I am glad to be a part of it again.” Looking back to the launch of your first company in 1970, would a 25-year-old Kay have ever guessed she would receive such an award? “No and yes. That 25-year-old Kay had no idea that she would start and run three successful apparel companies, and be the design force running these companies. I always knew of my passion to give back, but I think I was less aware that there are awards for it.” From First Ladies to Hollywood celebrities to CEO’s, you have designed for women in many walks of life. What do they all have in common? “I know this sounds simplistic, but they are all women! They certainly have that in common, plus they trust that I will make them feel and look their best. It is about them. The clothing is not to be the focus, more like a halo.” Do you recall a particular client or occasion that made a special impact? “Tipper Gore’s Inaugural Gala gown.” Boys Club of America to reach out to boys, then eventually to boys and girls, who were talented in the arts. We started with these kids at very early ages, giving them lessons and instruments. I saw how it changed their lives. It gave them that creative confidence which made a difference in their lives. This has been a focus my whole life, and I just carried it on. “Then, when I was 16 I had cancer, and I saw how scary it was. I have this ability to care for people; it was a motherly instinct before I was ever a mom. I’ve been able to give that to others. It also made it possible for me to negotiate in my business affairs. I wouldn’t do a show unless part of the proceeds went to charity. [For example], I’ve raised money through the City of Hope Cancer Center for the last 15 years by participating in the Hike for Hope the first weekend in March. “When I was part of FGI I also did the first Night of Stars for charity. We put on a Broadway show, closing off 7th Avenue. We gave Evelyn Lauder her first check of $250,000 for her Breast Cancer Research Fund. Every October, I build my business traveling for Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, always doing shows for breast cancer. It makes the work you do and the money you make so much more meaningful.” We’ve enjoyed exploring your website and blog, and were delighted to learn that you are quite the chef and party-thrower! Care to share a few favorite entertaining tips? “It’s a funny story, in my high school yearbook they said I would be a major entertainer!" Tips: