‘Catch a Rising Star’

Last evening’s party to celebrate the Perry Ellis Awards Nominees for the 2004 CFDA Fashion Awards, which was sponsored by Vogue Magazine and Perry Ellis International AND under-written by Swarovski, was well attended and notable for its diversity and mix.

Held at La Bottega Restaurant at the Maritime Hotel on 9th avenue and 16th street, the fashion group milled around nibbling on hors d’oeuvres and drinking cocktails-both inside and outside the space that resembled a ship, and it was a group that certainly spanned generations. Even though one’s initial feeling was that everyone there seemed to be under 30, tall, skinny, and fashionably attired (whatever that means these days), this was really not the case. The most important person there – Anna Wintour – who is arguably the most powerful woman in fashion, may be skinny and well turned out, but she is not young nor is she tall.

Wearing what has become practically a signature look for her – a fitted cardigan and knee length skirt (this evening’s choice was Miuccia Prada’s red sweater and tie dyed semi pleated silk chiffon skirt), she stayed quite awhile and saw to it that she spoke with all the nominees. B the way – it must be noted that her ‘look’ seem to have been practically the uniform of the evening- (I wonder if the other wearers were ‘Voguettes’).

In any event, others there who are not young, tall, AND skinny included veterans like Arnold Scaasi- one of the few to wear a suit and tie (he came, looked around, spoke with a few people, and quickly left), Dennis Basso, Ruth Finley, and Carol Cohen- who once designed coats for Drizzle and now makes fabulous jewelry -like the knockout snake necklace she was wearing. They rubbed shoulders with young guns like Zac Posen, Patrick Robinson, and Derek Lam- all nominees for the Perry Ellis Award for Ready-To-Wear.

By the way, Patrick’s wife – Vogue editor Virginia Smith- IS young, skinny, and tall, and was another one who opted for the ‘uniform’ of a cardigan and patterned soft, fuller skirt. I chatted with the Perry Ellis designer and asked what he was planning to do for an encore (next season). He said he didn’t know yet, but that, no, it would not be a continuation of his very vintagey 40’s, 50’s fall/winter collection. No surprise there- designers ususally do an about face.

The young designer certainly has a huge fan in Teri Agins, the well respected senior special writer for The Wall Street Journal, was was also at the party. Teri is being honored at the CFDA Awards on June 7th when she receives the coveted Eugenia Sheppard Award for Journalism, and when I asked what she was planning to wear, she admitted that she will be dressed personally by Patrick for the big night, though she wouldn’t say what exactly she would be wearing. One who disdains the idea of not looking like yourself, she did allow that she would have her make up done.

Also in attendance was young Alice Roi, the Parsons grad who was a 2001 nominee for the CFDA’s Perry Ellis Award for Womenswear. When I asked her what she was thinking about for next season- she took one look at me and said, “I’m doing you from here up” (and pointed to my waist). I was clad in a fitted white cardigan, white shirt with matching scarf and bright floral circle skirt. She went on to explain that she was thinking about the 70’s and the idea of fitted on top, longer on the bottom.

-Posted by 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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