Monday, January 31, 2005

‘Catch’ a Rising Star

Fashion Group International’s 8th Annual Rising Star Awards were held yesterday at the New York Hilton Hotel and they were the most fast paced and well edited thus far- from beginning to end.

FGI President Margaret Hayes moved things along with her introduction, followed by a tasty, quick and efficient luncheon (everything was already waiting on the table, from main course of salmon to dessert). Then came Special Guest/Keynote Speaker - a former ‘rising star’ (his star has already RISEN) - Zac Posen’s unlaborious, to the point, and sincere sentiments. He told the guests that for him, it’s all about making “beautiful clothing”, the “frivolity of fashion”, the “imagination of a woman”, and “empowering” his customer by helping her realize her “fantasies.”

He went on to emphasize the importance of promoting and supporting new young designers (which is what the entire event is all about, after all), urging “accountants and bankers” to do their part to help the cause, and he observed that the garment industry is a “dying industry” which must be aided. He also paid homage to the city of New York which he called “the most diverse place in the world”, and noted that since New York designers now show first (before London, Milan, and Paris), the stage has truly been set for the limelight to shine on our bright stars, right here, in the Big Apple.

The awards were broken into 8 categories. Accessories: Sandra Wilson, Neiman Marcus’s Accessories Director presented Gabriella Zanzani with her Rising Star; Beauty/Fragrance Corporate: Jane Larkworthy, W’s Beauty Director, presented Nicole Howard (Origins) her Rising Star; Beauty Fragrance Entrepreneur: Kristin Perrotta, Elle’s Beauty Editor, presented Paula Dorf (Paula Dorf Cosmetics), her Rising Star; Home/Interior Design: Doug Wilson, Co-Host of the TV show, ‘Trading Spaces’ presented Jeffrey Hutchinson (Jeffrey Hutchinson & Associates) his Rising Star; Fine Jewelry: Steven Lagos, of Steven Lagos Fine Jewelry, presented Simon Alcantara (Simon Alcantara LLC) his Rising Star; Men’s Apparel: David Chu (David Chu Inc.) presented Tomer Gendler (Tomer) his award; Retail: Glen Senk, President of Anthropology, presented Tory Burch (Tory by TRB) her ‘Rising Store’ Award; Women’s Apparel: and Patrick Robinson, who is now Creative Director for Paco Rabanne, did the honors announcing Kathryn & Lindy Jones (Palmer Jones LLC) as winners in their group. (Interestingly, in their acceptance speech, the duo admitted their muse is none other than Cinderella….who knew?)

By the way, I was delighted to chat with Tory Burch, who was clad in a fabulous diamante edged gray herringbone jacket and lean pants of her own design - natch! We first met in the 80’s, when we were both at Harper’s Bazaar (I was a senior fashion editor, and she was a very young assistant). The attractive, chic, flawlessly groomed young woman may be a fixture on New York’s social circuit, but she hates the term ‘socialite’ as a description for herself. A wife and mom, she is known for her philanthropy as well as her absolutely AMAZING apartment at the Pierre, which had recently been photographed for a major Vogue layout.

I must say, when I first heard that she was starting her own fashion company, I was skeptical (writing it off to just, well, a ‘thing’ to do). When I admitted this to her, she grinned and said she could easily understand my feelings. But of course, I quickly changed my opinion, as soon as I saw what she was up to. Tory’s high taste level and aesthetic is very much apparent in her tightly edited ‘lifestyle’ collection (comprised of highly collectible items that transcend the ‘trends’), which is available in her Elizabeth street shop (257 Elizabeth Street, 212 3343000, www.toryltd.com), and can be found at Bergdorf Goodman. She is obviously someone to watch.

-Marilyn Kirschner

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