Fashion Group International’s ‘Rising Star Awards’

This afternoon, I attended Fashion Group International’s 14th annual ‘Rising Stars Awards’ luncheon held at Cipriani 42nd Street. Thanks to all the snow from yet another major snowfall to hit the East Coast, it was in fact a perfect day to enjoy a Bellini or a glass of wine, a warm and satisfying lunch (the food at all the Cipriani establishments is consistently great), and more importantly, was a perfect opportunity to toast fashion’s ‘Generation Next’.

During the course of FGI President Margaret Hayes’s welcoming address, she listed the 8 categories which are represented, emphasized the importance of programs which support emerging talent, and touched upon the selection process (there are over 100 nominees, approximately 1200 eligible voters – out of which 150 actually voted), and the significance of the final vote (it is a “reflection of the consuming public”). She then congratulated the finalists on their collective “talent, skill, commitment, and fortitude.”

Next up to the podium was the Host of the festivities, Jamie Pallot, Editorial Director of Conde Nast Digital, who wasted no time in his pronouncements: “Snow is the ‘new’ black”; “Fashion is the ‘new’ showbiz”; “The ‘Rising Star Awards’ are the ‘new’ Golden Globes”; and no, “I’m NOT the ‘new’ Ricky Gervais”, which got a laugh from the crowd.

He spoke about Fashion Group’s history (the organization was founded in 1930, and its founding members were Elizabeth Arden, Edith Head, and Eleanor Roosevelt), and made mention of the increasing high profile and importance of the Annual ‘Night of Stars’, listing some of fashion’s biggest names on the planet, who have been honored in the past. But as he observed, “The main reason we are here today, is to support emerging talent”, and he noted that the ‘Rising Stars’ could be considered as the “kid sister” of the ‘Night of Stars’. He continued, “While the finalists being honored today may not have reached the top of the pinnacle just yet, they are valiantly scaling the foothills of this business.”

At this point, a 4 course lunch was served, and then Norma Kamali, the Keynote Speaker, came up, delivering a speech that was short, sweet, to the point, and obviously came straight from the heart. She proceeded to weave in the word ‘star’ throughout her address, all the while humbly dismissing it vis a vis herself, saying, “I’m not a star and have never felt like a star”. (Sorry Norma, I think many would disagree; YOU ARE A STAR!)

She offered her own words of wisdom for the youthful finalists, some of whom may well be on the verge of ‘stardom’: “A Rising Star Award is a good thing and a bad thing. Being on the rise is a scary, awesome experience. I’m not a star. I’m just in my own little constellation in the sky and I love it. I do what pleases me. Becoming a star has its highs and lows and it could be a curse. You have to decide WHAT you want and WHO you are. Longevity is more important than stardom.”

Norma continued: “I’m grateful for all the times I’ve fallen because it’s forced me to get up and pick myself up and reinvent myself.” “I welcome you into my constellation. It’s a wonderful place to be.”

Then came the presentation of the awards. FYI, leave it to Linda Fargo to make the best comments. When she came up to announce the winner in the Retail division, she thanked all those who are forging ahead in the retail arena, doing their best to ensure that retail stays alive, considering that it might become an endangered species thanks to our current ‘virtual reality’.

These are the categories, the Award Presenters, and the winners:

Jury Artola & Olga Grib – J.Artola
Adriana Castro – Adriana Castro
Satu and Celeste Greenburg – Tuleste Market
Marc Marmel – Marc Marmel
Towana Phillip – To’sha
Nicole Romano – Nicole Romano
Winner: Marc Marmel – Marc Marmel

Beauty/Fragrance Corporate
Margot Humbert – MAC Cosmetics
Jill Nisson – Avon Products Inc.
Caroline Pieper-Vogt – Fusion Brands, Inc.
Siddharth Shah – Givaudan Fragrances Corp.
Winner: Siddharth Shah

Beauty/Fragrance Entrepreneur
Christopher Chong – Amouage
Francis Kurkdjian – Maison Francis Kurkdjian
Ellen Sirot – Hand Perfection
Harold Zimmerman – Votre Vu
Winner: Harold Zimmerman – Votre Vu

Home/Interior Design
Koray Duman & Laith Sayigh – Sayigh + Duman
Alissia Melka-Teichroew – by AMT Inc.
Karl Zahn – Karl Zahn
Winner: Koray Duman & Laith Sayigh – Sayigh + Duman

Fine Jewelry
Nina Basharova –  Nina Basharova
Wendy Brandes – Wendy Brandes
Visnja Brdar – Visnja Jewels
Moritz Glik – Moritz Glik Studio
Betty Lou Moscot – Blu Betty Lou Moscot
Winner: Betty Lou Moscot – Blu Betty Lou Moscot

Men’s Apparel 
Antonio Azzuolo – Antonio Azzuolo
Peder Borresen, Stefan Dahlkvist, & Simen Staalnacke – Moods of Norway
Loris Diran – Loris Diran
Jeff Halmos & Sam Shipley – Shipley & Halmos
Winner: Loris Diran

Alissa Emerson & Valerie Feigen – Edit
Jennifer Fleiss & Jennifer Hyman – Rent the Runway
Robert James – By Robert James
Lisa Weiss – Début New York
Winner: Jennifer Fleiss & Jennifer Hyman – Rent the Runway

Women’s RTW
Fabiola Arias – Fabiola Arias
Sachin and Babi Ahluwalia – Sachin + Babi for Ankasa
Elene Cassis – Elene Cassis
Joel Diaz & Christina LaPens – Jolibe
Jedda-Kahn Blue-EL – Jedda-Kahn
Danny Liu & Brian Wood – Silvio Liu
Bradley Scott – Bradley Scott
Tom Scott – Tom Scott
Jonathan Simkhai – Jonathan Simkhai
Benjamin Channing Clyburn & Sonia Yoon – Bensoni
Winner: It was a tie:
Fabiola Arias – Fabiola Arias
Bradley Scott – Bradley Scott 

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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