Friday, October 26, 2012

FGI's "Night of the Stars" Awards & Gala

FGI Dreams a Dream

Margaret Hayes addressing the audience at Cipriani last night
(Click on photos for larger views)
-All photos Randy Brooke -

Cipriani 55 Wall Street was the setting for Fashion Group International's 29th Annual Night of Stars Award Gala (www.fgi.org ), which took place last evening. Each year, they have an overall title for the event, and this year, it was The Dream Catchers (in the words of FGI President Margaret Hayes, the "11 extraordinary talents being honored are spinners of imagination, the spirits of innovation, the weavers of the ideas that give shape and dimension to the dreams we dream.") The word "dreams" was woven into many of the speeches that followed, and as you can well imagine, Host Simon Doonan had quite a bit of fun with it (but more on that later).

Linda Fargo fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman

Each year, it seems FGI 'ups' the star wattage (if that's possible), with an impressive list of star honorees, star presenters, and of course, star guests (a veritable who's who of fashion, film, entertainment, retail, media, philanthropy, architecture, etc.) But of course, there can only be one Superstar, and this year, that honor went to Carolina Herrera, who was given her award by loyal friend and client, the Academy Award winning actress, Renee Zellweger. The rest of the VIP roster went like this:

Waris Ahluwalia, Vanessa Traina, Haider Ackermann and Liya Kedebe
STAR HONOREES:

FASHION:

Haider Ackermann Presenter: Karl Lagerfeld

Derek Lam Presenter: Glenda Bailey

Gareth Pugh Presenter: John Demsey

ARCHITECTURE: Annabelle Selldorf Presenter: Sonja Rubin & Kip Chapelle

BEAUTY: James Gager Presenter: Kim Hastreiter

BRAND HERITAGE AWARD: The Maramotti Family for Max Mara Presenter: Tony Award winner and two-time Academy Award nominee Viola Davis

CORPORATE LEADERSHIP AWARD: Karen Katz for The Neiman Marcus Group

Presenter: Tory Burch

SUSTAINABILITY AWARD: Jon King for Tiffany & Co. Presenter: Rose Marie Bravo, CBE

HUMANITARIAN AWARD: Wynton Marsalis Presenter: Efraim Grinberg

LORD & TAYLOR FASHION ORACLE AWARD: L’Wren Scott Presenter: Emmy Award winner Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker

Among the notable guests last night: Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos, Seth Meyers, Liya Kedebe, Prabal Gurung, Linda Fargo, Norma Kamali, Lola Schnabel, Patricia Lansing, Lauren Remmington Platt, Vanessa Traina, Estelle Lasher, Julie Macklowe, Bibhu Mohapatra, Christian Cota, Lisa Mayock, Miguel Antoinne, Misha Nonoo, Angel Sanchez, Alexi Ashe, Pat Wexler, Carin Brooks, Claude Morais, Brian Wolk, Nina Garcia, Maria Giulia Maramotti, Jedda Kahn.

Carolina Herrera

True to form, Simon Doonan kicked things off in his own inimitable way. He recounted an over the top, fantastical tale centered around "an insanely trippey dream I had last night", during the course of which, he was able to weave in all the names of the night's honorees. He referred to it as "L'Wren Scott's Slumber party", though it sounded more like a nightmare, especially the part about not being able to reach L'Wren's doorknob (he is as you know, rather vertically challenged, and she is well over 6' 2" in bare feet).


Rose Marie Bravo

Best moments that followed:

Glenda Bailey telling the crowd that Derek Lam "makes clothes that MAKE the woman". "He knows what women want; he could just as easily be a psychic". "His best accessory? His partner Jan (Schlottman)". For his part, Derek said that going to work each day is like "going home". He gave special thanks to FGI's Mary Lou Luther who he referred to as a "living treasure in this community" and he touchingly ended by saying "I'll work hard to earn this award".

John Demsey referred to Gareth Pugh's "unique dark aspects of beauty" and described his designs as "avante garde, rebellious, classy, edgy, beautiful". He also said he was "sporting an incredible pair of flared pants this evening". Gareth confessed, "speeches are not my strong point but thank you. It's a big honor for me to be here".

Karl Lagerfeld, who had literally arrived just moments before giving Haider Ackermann his award, admitted that Tilda Swinton was "the first choice" but could not be there because of a "family situation". He hailed him as "a great designer and great friend", and said he was happy to be there to give him the award the he really deserves. Haider said he was very touched to receive the award and thanked Karl. He quoted Yoko Ono who once said, "A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality", and he thanked Fashion Group for "letting me dream my dream".

Kim Hastreiter hailed James Gager as "a cultural anthropologist". "James is a storyteller who breathes life into his brand". He's a "natural editorial thinker". "Beauty is diverse and can come in many packages. I'm proud to give this Award to James, the ULTIMATE catcher of dreams". James said he was honored to be presented with this recognition and admitted he was "always dreaming" ("my dreams got me in a lot of trouble when growing up in Niagara Falls", he joked). "MAC makes dreams happen. I can be irreverent and push ideas of beauty forward, and hopefully, not only make women look and feel great, but put a smile on their faces". He ended by saying, "Dream more, learn more, care more, most importantly, BE more."

Tory Burch said that Neiman Marcus represents the essence of corporate leadership with their "rich history and heritage". "Few stores are as glamorous as Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus". "Even though it's over a century old, it's a trend setter and cutting edge". It's perfectly apropos, she said, that Karen Katz, Neiman's CEO's, was raised in Texas, "because Texas knows about bigger, better, and bolder". And even though NM is "big, bold, and creative, they manage to keep an amazing attention to detail".

Ms. Katz said that she shares her award with approximately "16,000 strong", "all of whom, share my passion and dedication". "I wish they could all be here to share this award". She proudly recounted a quote made by iconic Vogue editor Edna Woolman Smith, in 1957: “I dreamed all my life of the perfect store for women. Then I saw Neiman Marcus, and my dream came true.”

Viola Davis, presenting the award to the Maramotti Family (Max Mara) admitted that she knew "very little about fashion". "But I DO know about myself, how to define my own beauty, and own it." "Fashion can't be worn; it has to be something that enhances what you are rather than hide it".

Nicola Maramotti said "we inherited values, passion for quality, and a constant search for excellence" ("these are family traits"). "We believe in quality from start to finish. We look forward to another 60 years of success in the business."

Sarah Jessica Parker sang the praises (and wisdom) of good friend L'Wren Scott. She said she "understands fashion" and has always been a "visionary". "She has a perfect eye for color and proportion", and then went on to note, "she makes a woman's derriere look better than anyone in the business". "She's a real girlfriend to me and other women, and a perfect choice for the Oracle Award. She then read a congratulatory letter from Mick Jagger (her longtime boyfriend), who could not be there because he's in Paris.She said she wanted to do it with a British accent but decided not to.

L'Wren (in a form fitting dress showing all her curves), made the astute observation that "men only understand fashion if it has a waistline" and then told Simon he could use her long hair to "climb up (like Rapunzel). that got a lot of laughs.

Winton Marsalis said, "the greatest thing we will ever encounter, is other people"

Renee hailed good friend Carolina Herrera as elegant, chic, immaculate beautiful and so much fun, and used the designer's signature word: DIVINE! The divine CH thanked Margaret Hayes and Fashion Group for their support

Lookonline's Lieba Nesis and editor-in-chief Marilyn Kirschner

More quotes/observations recorded by our writer Lieba Nesis:

 Norma Kamali, an icon in the fashion industry said, "I design Kamali culture an ecommerce collection. Its a more career type collection but of course swimsuits are still a big part of my collection. A big focus of my career is on wellness now because if you don't feel good when you take off the dress then what is the point? But designers should not be afraid to make mistakes I made plenty of mistakes and this is pivotal for the growing process."

 Demitri Sholokhov, who recently won Project Runway, was very excited by this win but felt slightly overwhelmed and realizes "(he) needs business partners and investors, while Project Runway gave me great exposure this is only the beginning of my journey. A big inspiration for me is Alexander McQueen a great creative talent. But now that I have achieved a certain level of recognition I have to begin marketing it."

Kelly Ripa was there to honor Carolina Herrera who she said, "gives me stability even when I am wearing a strapless dress. Her clothing is classically elegant and I love everything about her."

Voila Davis, the actress, said she loves "people who are not afraid to take fashion risks who don't just follow the trends. Max Mara is my favorite designer the cut and the fit is just perfect everything about it is classic."

L'Wren Scott said she "loves Fashion Group International and was thrilled to be honored at this event."

Karl Lagerfeld, the king of fashion, waltzed in at nine with his trademark sunglasses and high collared shirt and even though he was silent he left the crowd speechless.


L'Wren Scott

At the end, Simon joked, "I'm available to interpret anyone's dreams", and added "I accept all major credit cards." Before we were sent out into the night, each guest was handed an enormous black 'snakeskin' tote bag filled with goodies, among them a Nokia phone, custom designed by L'Wren Scott (her first such collaboration), a sampling of MAC cosmetics, a Lord & Taylor gift certificate, a Max Mara scarf, Carolina Herrera fragrance for men, and Godiva chocolates.


Gareth Pugh

The lead sponsor for this year’s event was Lord & Taylor. Participating sponsors: Arcade Marketing, Bebe, Givaudan, InStyle and Movado and the event was expertly handled, as always, by Diane Clehane, Madeline Communications (DClehane@aol.com).

- Marilyn Kirschner


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