I attended Fashion Group International’s 7th annual ‘Rising Star Awards’ held at the Waldorf Astoria’s Grand Ballroom. The reception, luncheon, and award ceremony was in honor of 8 “outstanding individuals being recognized for their innovation, creativity and accomplishments”.
After Margaret Hayes, FGI’s president gave her opening speech, the podium was turned over to Special Guest/Keynote Speaker CNN anchor, Soledad O’Brien, who was funny and personal as she spoke of her interesting background and rise to the top of her field.
The accomplished and articulate Harvard grad (who is not at all immersed in the worlds of beauty and fashion- the worlds being celebrated) was a crowd pleaser who spoke and read beautifully- and considering what transpired, she should have just continued on with the afternoon’s proceedings. Why? Well, because none of the presenters who followed (with the exception of Seventeen Magazine’s editor in chief- Atoosa Rubenstein) were able to aptly pronounce the names of the finalists (even those with ‘easy’ to read names), and a few had trouble just talking and reading.
The worst offender was the designated ‘Emcee’- former model Stacey Schieffelin. Though Ms. Hayes introduced her by speaking about her stellar career and credits, I have to admit, I did not recognize her….oh well.
Ms. Rubenstein presented the ‘Beauty’ award to Nicole Masson of MAC Cosmetics; Colette Malouf presented the ‘Accessories’ award to Leonello Borghi; Bergdorf Goodman’s Muriel Gonzalez presented the ‘Fragrance’ award to Lucas Sieuzac of Symrise; Calvin Tsao presented the ‘Home & Interior Design’ award to Marc Blackwell of Marc Blackwell New York; Steven Dweck presented the ‘Jewelry’ award to Jane Ko of Linea Nervenkitt; Alan Flusser presented the ‘Men’s Apparel’ award to Douglas and Yvonne Mandel of Kamkyl; Reed Krakoff of Coach, who was to present the ‘Retail’ award could not be there, so a representative from his company did the honors- the winner was Lisa Versacio of West Elm.
And last but not least, fashion ‘star’ Patricia Field ended the proceedings by giving the ‘Women’s Apparel’ award to Michael Kaye of Michael Kaye Couture. In her little speech prior, she noted that Michael was honored by having one of his tartan plaids selected to be a permanent part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.
By the way, Michael beat out Isabelle Elie of Atelier Boutique Isabelle Elie; Yves Jean Lacasse of Envers Design; Esteban Cortazar who seemed to be a personal favorite of Ms. Field (he is the youngest ‘kid’ to have ever presented a runway show during fashion week, is still in design school in Miami and is due to graduate this term!); Matthew Earnest; Kathryn and Lindy Jones of Palmer Jones- the identical twins who had worked at Ralph Lauren (Pat described their designs as “limited edition collector’s pieces”); Andy The-Anh of Pow; and Thomas Vasseur and Gaba Esquivel of Vasseur-Esquivel.
Actually, the best part of the event was finding myself seated next to ex- Bazaar cronies: Maureen Lippe, President of the esteemed marketing public relations firm Lippe Taylor, and her colleague Emmy Lou Kelly (who not only worked for the late Carrie Donovan when she was the magazine’s Senior Fashion Editor, but remained a very close personal friend of the fashion icon’s). And neither gal has changed one bit!
Check out this spread above taken from Harper’s Bazaar’s March 1976 issue devoted to ‘Single Women’…Shot by celebrated lensman – the late Bill King, it featured this group shot of the single editors on staff (Carrie Donovan’s idea)…in addition to myself, Maureen, and Emmy Lou, if you look carefully, you will see a vest clad (Kenzo, I believe) Anna Wintour (who was just a fashion editor at the time) and Wendy Goodman, (Tonne’s sister) a fashion assistant who is now a senior editor at New York Magazine covering the world of houses, homes, and decor.
Oh, by the way, I still have the ‘Bazaar’ t-shirt…it’s torn and mangled but still hanging in there.