Fashion Group’s Galaxy 30th Anniversary

The Fashion Group ( was conceived at an informal luncheon in 1928, and became an organization in 1930, “with a place, a purpose, by-laws, officers and women eager to be members”. Each year, since, 1983, they have held their annual Night of Stars. But this year, to properly commemorate their 30th anniversary (gee, you don’t look a day older than 29!), it wasn’t just stars, but a veritable Galaxy. (Galaxy: A collection of stars held together by their mutual galaxy. All the stars in a galaxy are kept together by the gravity of all the other stars, as well as the invisible, mysterious dark matter).

Marc Jacobs & Sofia Coppola

So, how many stars are in Fashion’s Galaxy? Who knows, but I do know that many of them, including one star of major proportions, (who would be the surprise guest at the end of the evening), turned out at Cipriani Wall Street last night. By the way, I know there are probably some who find the downtown location inconveniently out of the way. But I for one love it, as I live close enough, that I can actually walk to and from my home. Just think Conde Nasters, once your offices move down here, you will be able to do the same!

Robert Duffy

Just consider this impressive roster:

SUPERSTAR AWARD: Marc Jacobs and Robert Duffy

Christopher Kane
Angela Missoni
Alexander Wang

MEDIA: Carine Roitfeld

BRAND VISIONARY:  Nadja Swarovski

BEAUTY:  Leslie Blodgett



SUSTAINABILITY AWARD:  Gilles Andrier for Givaudan

HUMANITARIAN AWARD:  Evie Evangelou & Franca Sozzani for Fashion 4 Development


The lead sponsor of this year’s event was Lord & Taylor. Participating
sponsors: Arcade Marketing, Givaudan, InStyle, LIM College and Movado. And of
course, once again, Simon Doonan was the Host, introducing the evening’s
honorees (who he quipped, “include everyone in this room”) with a wild tale
centered on his imaginary and often hilarious look back at where each one was 30
years ago. (“Could you ever imagine how far you’ve come in 30 years”? he asked.

Simon Doonan

Some highlights of the evening:

Diane Von Furstenberg presented Nadja Swarovski with her Brand Visionary Award calling her a force, a leader, a visionary, an inspiration, and our friend. She’s been the Godmother of the CFDA Awards for 10 years. Even though she is so busy, she still has time to give such a great commitment to philanthropies.

Nadja accepted the award by honoring her fellow honorees; “this evening is a testimony to your hard work and success” she said.

Mayor Bloomberg, a great personal friend of both Jamie Drake and Coach’s Lew Frankfort (who he was there for, to present the Corporate Leadership Award) took to the podium and joked that when he was first called by Fashion Group, he thought he was getting an award himself, not GIVING an award. In fact, he should be getting a fashion award for getting through his tenure as mayor with just “two pairs of shoes and two business suits”. (I guess penny pinching runs in his family. His daughter Emma was in The New York Post yesterday, because she prefers to borrow dresses from “Rent the Runway” instead of actually buying new ones. “Much more economical” he thought. I suppose that’s why he’s a billionaire).

Lew Frankfort: “We went from being known as a house of leather to a major fashion label. New York is in an integral part of the Coach DNA. By honoring me, you are honoring the entire Coach team”. And then he made the announcement that he was giving a gift of $15 million to help fund the redevelopment of the Hudson Yards on the far West Side (“the next big area” he called it).

Carine Roitfeld

The bodacious beauty, Kate Upton, there to give Carine Roitfeld her Media Award, observed that Carine was “the first editor to put me on the cover, and I actually wore clothing! Thank you for that”. She noted that Carine has been able to change the way people dress “through her own personal style”.For Carine, who was dressed in a skinny black tuxedo, the award and evening were highly emotional. She said fashion is all about “fragility and imagination” and she gave special thanks to Stephen Gan who helped “make my dreams come true”.

Hamish Bowles

Hamish Bowles, who presented Alexander Wang, with his Fashion Award, described the young designer’s aesthetic as “urban edgy” and noted that fashion is not just the clothes you wear, but what you eat, where you go, and the people around you. He said Alexander “works as hard as he plays” and described him as a “little boy with high heeled dreams, and he made his dreams come true”. Alexander Wang: “2013 has been an amazing year for me”.

Alexa Chung, presenting Christopher Kane with his Fashion Award, hailed him as “truly original, with dark elements to what he designs. Brilliant!”

Mario Batali, there to give Leslie Blodgett the Beauty Award, described her as an amazing mother, who has empowered young women and young men, helping them realize the inner beauty inside themselves. She did it with dignity. Though with all her success, she won’t cook” he joked. Leslie Blodgett: “I’ve been a beauty addict since I was a young girl on Long Island. I was once told “don’t worry; you’ll be pretty one day”.  I found myself early on, giving tips to young girls who had self-confidence issues. The beauty industry is so rewarding. I can’t think of doing anything else”.

Angela Missoni

Stefano Tonchi, prior to giving the Fashion Award to Angela Missoni, thanked New York for all the many foreign accents. (Certainly, with all the foreign honorees and presenters, there were many heavy accents during the course of the evening). As a proud Italian, he spoke of the importance of family and said that the Missonis are the “closest thing I have to family”. “Rosita and Tai (Ottavio) invented the Missoni style but Angela has made it contemporary. Going global has been her goal but she has not forgotten her roots. She is my best friend, and almost like a sister”.

Angela Missoni: “This is the Missoni’s third award from Fashion Group. My parents had a vision and they invented something. It was more than a zig zag. I am not afraid to take risks. My parents invented a style that is like a language but I have to take it forward”. She dedicated the award to her late father Tai, and her brother Vittorio, both of whom passed away this year.

Linda Fargo

Margaret Russell described Jamie Drake’s style as “bold and invigorating designs which make life better”. Jamie thanked the fashion industry for giving him “endless reasons to open my wallet and shop”. He said he wished he took the “same IPO course at Parsons that Marc Jacobs did” (they went to Parsons at the same time).

Deeda Blair, there to give Deborah Needleman the Oracle Award said she looked up the word Oracle and found these words: profit, expert and mastermind, “all of which accurately describe” the honoree. But she said she is also “eternally curious; a genius editor who is inclusive not exclusive”. Deborah Needleman: “I’m in a job that is, in itself, an honor. I was once told “You’re so bossy you should be an editor in chief. I get to share my curiosity about fashion, with a smart global audience.”

Glenda Bailey

But with all due respect, the best part was saved for last. Just as I was almost beginning to doze off towards the end of the evening, Simon Doonan came out once again and this time, he announced a real surprise that would surely excite the crowd. And he was right. Out came the great Aretha Franklin with her backup singers. She told the crowd that she was invited by Marc Jacobs, and was accompanied to the event by the great Clive Davis. “Raise your glasses to Marc and Clive” she said and then quickly began singing her famous anthem “Respect”, inviting everyone to “stand up and shake your hips” which almost everyone did.

Miley Cyrus

Then Miley Cyrus in a slinky beaded gown, stepped up and made a few quick remarks “I’m not the greatest person to give a short speech” (she talked about how she first met Marc and made it short and sweet). When Marc Jacobs stepped up on the podium, he said he was also speaking for Robert Duffy, and he wasted no time saying “respect is the operative word here”. (He was obviously making a symbolic statement with that particular song).

“It’s a great honor to have our partnership with all the dedicated talented people, and to do what we do. The most important thing is to bravely allow for the possible. Some things in life you do for yourself, some things you do for others. Robert and I do some things for ourselves and some things for others. Our partnership, which is complete, but not in the biblical sense (we have never even kissed), is the most important relationship I will ever have. We are best friends in every sense of the word.”

Iris Apfel

As the guests left the building, each was handed an enormous silver and black snakeskin tote courtesy Accessory Headquarters, which was filled with an assortment of goodies. In addition to a bottle of Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio, there was a Lord & Taylor gift certificate, a bottle of Marc Jacob’s fragrance Honey, the designer’s eyeliner, a Missoni datebook, and a handsome leather zippered pouch in eggplant from Coach (what? No $15 million check?)

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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