The CFDA New Members Party

The annual CFDA New Members party, which formally welcomes its roster of new designers into the fold, was held last evening at Reed and Delphine Krakoff’s fabulous east side townhouse. 40 newbies were honored and all were present except for two – one was ill and the other was out of town. They are always ‘pinned’ with delicate floral corsages to not only separate them from the crowd, but to mark their right of passage (making it look like a fashionable fraternity).

Diane von Fursternberg with Ted Kim

The word ‘new’ always makes me think of Geoffrey Beene, who always hated when members of the press asked him what was new. “Don’t ask me what’s new. Ask me what’s good!”, was his thought. And while I can’t say I know all 40 of the aforementioned designers that well, I can attest to the fact that they are not only good, but some have the trophies to prove it. For example, Rosie Assoulin won CFDA’s 2015 Swarovski Award for Womenswear; Shayne Oliver (of Hood by Air), picked up the 2015 Swarovski Award for Menswear; and Florana Gavriel and Rachel Mansur, the duo behind the handbag line Mansur Gavriel, nagged the 2015 Swarovski Award for Accessory Design.

Nanette Lepore with Steven Kolb

By the way, they are not the only things that are ‘new’ at the CFDA. Steven Kolb, the CFDA’s CEO since 2011, recently took on the new dual title of CEO and president, and after nearly 10 years as the organization’s president, Diane von Furstenberg, had her title changed to chairman. Diane made her welcoming remarks, congratulating the new members, emphasizing the importance of being “be true to yourself”. The host of the evening, Reed Krakoff spoke next and he admitted, “I got rejected the first time I applied”. He echoed Diane’s assertion of being true to yourself and said that the most important thing about her tenure at the helm of the organization, is that “she created community”. One cannot underestimate the importance of being part of a group, he noted, and then he observed, “there is strength in numbers”.

Reed Krakoff

There was a bit of a bottleneck in the large living room, but then guests, including Steven Kolb, Nanette Lepore, Stan Herman, Roland Nivelais, Ruth Finley, Fern Mallis, Deborah Lloyd, Paul Andrew, Steven Alan, began spilling out into the other rooms. And let me tell you, there were plenty of rooms to spill out into! I always like to point out, that this event is a wonderful way to scope out prime Manhattan real estate and take in fabulous art because the setting is more often than not, a jaw dropping, art filled, multimillion dollar apartment, loft, or town house, owned by one of its fabulously wealthy, highly established members (which of course, is a great way to show the new members what rewards they might expect should their career paths mimic those of their fellow celebrated mentors).

                                       Misha Nonoo and Ana Khouri

Past venues have included Elie Tahari’s grand downtown loft, Vera Wang’s luxurious Park Avenue duplex, Lisa Perry’s spectacular art filled penthouse, and Kenneth Cole’s fabulous coop (located at 1 Sutton Place South, the same building as Lisa’s) and this year was the Krakoff’s 5 story art and book filled mansion on East 64th street. It had previously been a Kips Bay Decorator Show House and home to The New York Observer and the Krakoffs have completely transformed it with custom built ins (Delphine is a Parisian born interior designer).

Guests navigating up the museum worthy spiral  staircase

I was not the only guest walking up the museum worthy spiral staircase and taking a house tour with camera in tow and when I was done, I asked Reed if he knows how many books he has, and if he actually reads them all. He told me he doesn’t know how many he has, but he does read them and they are divided by subject. I then told him that at this point, I often find myself more excited by seeing great homes than by fashion. He laughed and agreed, but noted, “yes, but you’ve got to do the fashion to get the house”.

The New Members

Ana Khouri, ANA KHOURI

Matt Baldwin, BALDWIN

Louise Camuto, CAMUTO GROUP

Leigh Batnick Plessner, CATBIRD

Rony Vardi, CATBIRD

Guido Campello, COSABELLA

David Hart, DAVID HART


Brett Heyman, EDIE PARKER


Shayne Oliver, HOOD BY AIR

John Brevard, JOHN BREVARD

Kendra Scott, KENDRA SCOTT

Lisa Marie Fernandez, LISA MARIE FERNANDEZ

Elizabeth Fortunato, LIZZIE FORTUNATO

Floriana Gavriel, MANSUR GAVRIEL


Michael Saiger, MIANSAI

Misha Nonoo, MISHA NONOO


Nellie Partow, NELLIE PARTOW

Paul Andrew, PAUL ANDREW

Raquel Allegra, RAQUEL ALLEGRA

Kristine Johannes, RAUWOLF

Rosie Assoulin, ROSIE ASSOULIN

Ted Kim, RVN


Scosha Woolridge, SCOSHA

Brooke Garber Neidich, SIDNEY GARBER

Siki Im, SIKI IM

Daniel Corrigan, SIMON MILLER

Jake Sargent, SIMON MILLER

Paige Dellavalle, STELLA VALLE


Britt Cosgrove, SVILUMarina Polo, SVILU

Tanya Taylor, TANYA TAYLOR

Francesca Amfitheatrof, TIFFANY & CO.

Ryan Lobo, TOME

Ramon Martin, TOME

–  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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