Style Star

What I Wear to Work: Renee Hamad

Philanthropist Renee Hamad sports style all her own.

By Alicia King Robinson July 6, 2016

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If you haven’t seen Renee Hamad around town supporting Sarasota’s many nonprofits and attending fundraisers, you might live under a rock. I had the privilege of working closely with this lovely lady and have observed her passion for helping others on countless occasions. In addition to her generous nature, the Cairo, Egypt native is unequivocally chic and elegant, to boot.

WHO: Renee Hamad, 72, philanthropist and retired concert pianist who speaks fluent French, Arabic and English

WHAT I DO: During season, I have a lot of meetings to attend but also event planning around town. People seem to trust me with the years of experience I’ve accumulated with fundraising and event planning. I’ve been fortunate enough to co-chair events with women who have done them in bigger cities. I enjoy doing things a little differently and thinking outside of the box.

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ORGANIZATIONS I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT: New College Foundation, Second Chance Last Opportunity, Florida State University College of Medicine, Sarasota Concert Association, La Musica.

CURRENT LEADERSHIP/BOARD POSITIONS: New College Foundation, Second Chance Last Opportunity, La Musica, Phi Beta Kappa Association, Specialists for Animals Foundation, Inc. or SAFI, Sarasota Concert Association, The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center, Florida State University College of Medicine, Steinway Society, Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County (past board chair)

FAVORITE FUNDRAISERS TO ATTEND: Two of my favorite events from last year were also two of my favorite 2015 accomplishments. I was co-chair of the Brunch on the Bay for the Florida State University College of Medicine and the Designing Women gala. We raised more than $110,000 that December day for the College of Medicine, and later that night, we raised money at the Designing Women gala, where guests wore fun costumes and hats. They were both great events.

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MY STYLE: Eclectic, non-conformist and trendy. I like to be daring and avant garde. I love color and like to try new trends. Jewelry can always be a statement piece to accent an outfit. I collect brooches and Hermes scarves. If I wear black, I try to offset it with splashes of color.

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HOW HAS YOUR STYLE EVOLVED? I worked in a bank for 10 years while raising children. I was conservative but tried to add my own special flair by wearing unique shoes or panty hose. My style was much more toned down because it was a business environment. When I was a student at Eckerd, I dressed lighter for Florida and a little younger and less conservative.

FAVORITE DESIGNERS: St. John, Oscar de la Renta, Burberry, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Giuseppe Zanotti, Valentino, Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Ferragamo, Akris Punto

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MY GO-TO ITEM: My Alain Mikli eyeglasses from Paris. They are a staple for me; I have them everywhere, including in my handbag, next to my bed, in my office, etc.

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FAVORITE ITEM I OWN: My 18-karat yellow-gold necklace with the eye. It comes from Egypt and was a gift from a friend. The eye is made of glass and diamonds and has gold fringe. It represents a Middle Eastern belief that the charm will protect you from bad luck and jinx. I’m superstitious and always wear something blue or turquoise and always have something with the eye with me.

FOR A NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN: It depends on who I am with and where I am going. For a downtown dinner, I would wear a lace top with some kind of flowy patterned pants. For an event, I would grab a Valentino fit-and-flare dress that has a timeless and classic feel.

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Renee is wearing a shirt, undershirt, pants and scarf from Hard Tail; Manolo Blahnik sandals; a Rolex watch (gifted from her husband on her 40th birthday); a Roberto Coin 18-karat gold bracelet with "I love you" on each disc in various languages; Swarovski crystal necklaces with sterling silver and white gold; custom bracelet with eye and hand-woven silk, glass and crystals; a handmade brooch made by Bettina, a talented friend; and earrings and a necklace made with real turquoise from Arizona.

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 A Florida native, Alicia King Robinson is the director of public relations at Sarasota-based ThreeSixOh Public Relations and the blogger behind New Version of You. Her love of fashion and eye for stylish living began at an early age. Meant to inspire, she explores fashion and the evolution and ever-changing versions of ourselves with style-inspired content.

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