Accessories Council Honors Abbey Doneger

The Accessories Council on Monday honored Abbey Doneger, president of The Doneger Group, with an evening event that drew a jovial crowd from the footwear and accessories industries, including Lord & Taylor CEO Brendan Hoffman; Banfi Zambrelli designer Frank Zambrelli; and Fashion Institute of Technology President Joyce Brown.

Doneger was inducted into the Accessories Council’s Hall of Fame, which recognizes outstanding business leaders for their contributions to the accessories market. Doneger said the night was also significant for him because a portion of the evening’s proceeds went to the Henry Doneger Scholarship Fund, which honors the executive’s father; and the Accessories Design Program at FIT. In addition, the event coincided with The Doneger Group’s 65th anniversary.

“This is a very special recognition,” said Doneger, who attended with his mother, sister, wife and three sons. “I’m excited to celebrate with my family.”

Footwear News also caught up with Frank Zambrelli, who, in addition to running footwear brand Banfi Zambrelli, serves as chairman of the Accessories Council. Zambrelli said that, as an FIT alumnus, the evening was also meaningful for him. “When a student graduates from FIT, they’ve not just drawn a handbag or a drawn a shoe, they’ve put together a handbag. They’ve lasted a shoe,” he said.

Zambrelli also revealed that his company, which has focused solely on women’s footwear, is delving into men’s for fall ’12. Zambrelli said retailers who already carry the brand’s women’s styles will be the first to sell the new men’s line, which was created to fill the gap between casual and dressy styles.

“There’s a real hole in the [men’s market],” Zambrelli said. “It relates to how men are dressing today. When they are not going to work, they are still dressing up a little. They’re not going to wear an English brogue, but it also shouldn’t be a [sneaker]. [The new Banfi Zambrelli line] is decidedly modern, but that doesn’t mean avant-garde.”

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