What do Salvador Dalí, Tennessee Williams, Eleanor Roosevelt and Joseph Abboud have in common? They’re all Medal of Honor recipients from the National Arts Club.
When Abboud receives his award in March, it will mark the first time in the organization’s 125-year history that a menswear designer will be honored. Several women’s designers have also been singled out by the group including Patricia Field, Narciso Rodriguez and Anna Sui.
Abboud will receive his award on March 22 at 6 p.m. at the landmarked Tilden Mansion, the home of the NAC, at 15 Gramercy Park South in New York.
“Joseph Abboud is a true American icon and is the first designer of menswear to receive the prestigious National Arts Club Medal of Honor in Fashion,” said David Zyla, co-chair of the club’s fashion committee. “Abboud has inspired and guided men for decades in their sartorial choices, empowering them with his sumptuous color palettes and masterful use of tailoring.”
“How wonderful to be receiving The National Arts Club’s Medal of Honor,” Abboud said. “To be in the company of the many distinguished recipients of the club’s 125-year history is a very special personal milestone in my career. There is something magical when fashion and art embrace, and to be the first menswear designer recognized by this extraordinary organization dedicated to the arts is truly an honor I’ll always cherish.”
Speakers for the Medal of Honor evening will include actor Chazz Palminteri and TV anchor and journalist Ernie Anastos. The event will also feature a pop-up exhibition comprising 18 outfits from the Joseph Abboud archives presented on hand-painted mannequins.
Boston native Abboud studied comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts and attended the Sorbonne in Paris. His fashion career started in 1968 at Louis, Boston where he spent 12 years. He then joined Polo Ralph Lauren as director of menswear design before launching his own brand in 1987. The brand changed hands several times over the years and is now owned by the brand marketing firm WHP Global. Abboud is no longer involved.
Over the course of his career the designer has received many awards including the only designer to have received two consecutive CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year awards in 1989 and 1990. He also received the Special Achievement Award from The Neckwear Association of America in 1994, the Cutty Sark Award for Most Promising Menswear Designer in 1988 and the Woolmark Award for Distinguished Fashion in 1989 and 1993.
The National Arts Club Medal of Honor is awarded to leaders in their respective fields, from fine art and fashion to dance, theater and music. The organization was founded in 1898 to stimulate, foster and promote public interest in the arts.