The American Apparel & Footwear Association, or AAFA, (apparelandfootwear.org) presented the 28th annual American Image Awards at the Grant Hyatt Hotel in New York City on Monday, May 15, at a star-studded black-tie optional event that drew 850 guests and raised $1.2 million for The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee and the AAFA Education Programs.

This Virginia-based national trade association that represents apparel, footwear and other sewn products companies along with suppliers and textile companies in the US capital, honored Peter Boneparth, chairman and CEO of Jones Apparel Group, with The Man of the Year award; Betsey Johnson with the Designer of the Year award; Simon Doonan, creative director of retailer Barneys New York, with the Fashion Maverick prize; and Blake Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom stores, with the Retailer of the Year award. In addition, actress and activist Marlo Thomas was given the Spirit of a Woman award to honor her fundraising efforts for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Doonan (pictured above with Johnson) cracked up the crowd by presenting his award to himself after the planned presenter, supermodel Karolina Kurkova, was a no-show after being called home to her native Ukraine. Doonan quipped and joked that the reason for her last-minute trip home was because she did not want to have to pay for dental work in the United States and raced home where she could get it done for free.

The always bubbly Johnson thanked her business partner, Chantal Bacon, and expressed her gratitude to all her various licensees by pulling the items they make for her out of a large satchel that she had brought up to the podium and then tossing the individual shoes, bags, underwear, etc. out into the highly amused audience.

Other presenters included Barneys New York’s president Howard Socol who gave the award to Boneparth and designers Isabel and Ruben Toledo who presented to Nordstrom.

Actress Robin Givens hosted the event.

Kevin Burke, president and CEO of the AAFA, was thrilled that the evening raised even more money than its initial $1 million goal. “The AAFA is thrilled to have made this a record-breaking year for fundraising with the American Image Awards, while paying tribute to some of the industry’s most beloved leaders,” he said. “We are so proud to bring together the fashion industry in support of such a worthy cause.”