Fashion Group International's 27th Annual Night of Stars: "The Globalists"
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OMG! Just when you think the Fashion Group International may have finally run out of superstars and iconic figures to honor for their annual Night of Stars Gala (after all, they’ve been finding new and worthy names for the last 27 years), they come up with yet another deserving and celebrated list.
Marisa Berenson & Pierre Cardin (All photos: Randy Brooke for Lookonline.com)
This year, they used “The Globalists” as their overall umbrella, giving new meaning to global warming. And not just because it was so unseasonably warm and balmy outside, but because inside Cipriani Wall Street, the invited guests were basking in the warm glow of super stars, icons, and legends from the worlds of fashion, beauty, entertainment, and architecture. Let’s face it, you don’t get more iconic than the ageless Pierre Cardin who was given his Board of Directors Legend Award by the glorious and also ageless Marisa Berenson. The très magnfique iconic model looked dazzling in a fabulous architectural dress, one of many of the famed designer’s creations that will be presented at a formal runway show at Milk Studio tonight.
Jennifer Connelly & Nicolas Ghesquiere
And then there was Nicolas Ghesquiere, one of the fashion world’s most revered and respected designers, who was awarded his Superstar Award by the gorgeous Academy Award winning Jennifer Connelly, a muse and loyal customer; beauty ‘legend’ Frederic Fekkai was awarded his Beauty Award by Calvin Klein; ‘Brand Visionary’ Diego Della Valle had dear friend Richard Gere, took the stage to do the honors - this was also one of the more entertaining moments of the night; Jack McCollough & Lazaro Hernandez for Proenza and Albert Kriemler for Akris were the Star Honorees for Fashion - presenters were Anna Wintour & Bee Shaffer in the case of the former, Stefano Tonchi for the latter;
Lookonline editor Marilyn Kirschner
The Entertainment Award went to Janie Bryant (Presenter - Simon Kneen); the Architecture Award went to Rafael And Diana Vinoly (Presenters - Calvin Tsao & China Machado); Corporate Leadership Award was presented by Anna Sui to Glen Senk for Urban Oufitters; the Lord & Taylor Fashion Oracle Award was handed to Nina Garcia by Michael Kors; and Mayor Michael Bloomberg was there to give his dear friend Evelyn Lauder, the Humanitarian Award.
By the way, speaking of ageless, in an industry (actually, I should say industries: both fashion and entertainment), where it’s seemingly all about the young (being young, staying young, looking young), it was interestingly a night which proved that many things (and many people) do get better with age and being 70, 80, or 90 hardly means it’s all over. At 88, Pierre Cardin was the ‘coolest’ guy in the room and China Machado, the exotic 60's supermodel and Avedon muse, turned Harper’s Bazaar Senior Fashion Editor (whom I worked with at Harper’s Bazaar in the 70’s), looked positively radiant.
FGI's Margaret Hayes
FGI President Margaret Hayes began by lauding the “12 extraordinary talents - Globalists in fashion beauty and architecture - who inspire us to act globally". Then the always amusing and unique Simon Doonan took the stage and asked, “What is a globalist”? “I have no idea” he jokingly answered but said that because they are all in the media spotlight, they could all use a personal mantra to help them ‘cope’. Inexplicably, he decided to ‘award’ each honoree his or her own personal mantra, inspired by the Jersey Shore nicknames: Nicolas Guesquiere - the Prince of Paramus; Albert Kriemler - Tan Jovi; Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough - The Condition; Rafael Vinoly - Bones; Diana Vinoly - The Body; Frederic Fekkai - The Operation; Diego Della Valle- The Tricep; Janie Bryant- The Opportunity; Evelyn Lauder - Kookie, Pierre Cardin - The Impact; Nina Garcia - The Paris Hilton of Trenton.
Linda Fargo fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman
After dinner and dessert was served, the awards began. These are some highlights of what followed:
Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour
- Anna Wintour on the team of Proenza Schouler: “You make a bag everyone knows yet everyone wants”. “You may be sitting at the ‘grown-up’ table but you are still the sweet young talented kids we first met” (daughter Bee enthused, “your designs are instantly cool”.)
- Mayor Bloomberg telling the assembled crowd that Evelyn Lauder, a member of FGI for 20 years who “led the charge in the war against cancer” and has raised about “35 million - this past year alone”, is “impossible to say no to - don’t even try”.
- Diana Vinoly on her rather hard to miss green layered chiffon Issey Miyake dress: "To mix fashion and architecture, I chose a "building of a dress".
- Richard Gere talking about what a fabulous, warm person and good friend Diego Della Valle is, saying it was a “very special evening” and then joking “I think I just bought 26% of Saks tonight- the check’s in the mail.” “I don’t know about fashion but thanks to Calvin Klein I know about black t shirts and white underwear. And I know about shoes. Diego gave me a pair of brown suede shoes (with those little nubs on the bottom) and I nursed them for 10 years. I agreed to present him with this award tonight if he promised to give me another pair of shoes. Hopefully they will last at least 10 years.”
- Marisa Berenson telling the assembled guests that it was an honor to celebrate “60 years of an amazing and immense career and life.” “Pierre Cardin has always said that taste is not enough - you have to be touched by grace and have style”. He has no boundaries or limitations. His name radiates globally on everything. His passion is limitless. He is a wise man and completely free man. He has always made the most of everything.” (For his part, Pierre Cardin took to the stage speaking quickly and only in French).
- Calvin Klein describing Frederic Fekkai as a “rare combination of talent and charisma”, citing his “good looks, and “that sexy accent”. “He had a very specific vision for his business and he made it happen. No one has a more stellar clientele. He’s like Warren Beatty but with a better accent” (that got the most laughs of the night). He spoke of the “complete and utter magic of his talent” - the ability to “make women look amazing” and quoted him as saying “When I run my hands thru a woman’s hair, I have a sense of who she should be.”
- Frederic Fekkai admitted that he wouldn’t “be here without Calvin Klein”, who suggested to Ira Neimark many years ago that he open a Frederic Fekkai boutique at Bergdorf Goodman.
- Michael Kors on Nina Garcia: “Style has been a part of Nina’s life since day 1. Thanks to four best selling style guides and Project Runway, she has “rewritten what a style editor’s role should be”.
- Jennifer Connelly: “I LOVE Nicholas Guesquiere. His designs are timelessly classic and quintessentially modern. He’s a rare and special creature; fun and funny, and just a little bit wicked. He is brave, a perfectionist, and an artist.”
- Nicolas Guesquiere: “I am touched by your words. It’s a great celebration tonight and it’s always great to celebrate fashion. I have the highest respect for the past recipients. Cristobal Balenciaga brought a radical point of view and 80 years later, I am happy to keep this dream alive.”
At the end, Simon Doonan took the stage and said that he left out Margaret Hayes’ personal mantra: “Last Call”. “Thanks for coming and go home.” And everyone did, with a wonderful gift bag in tow.
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