Last evening, the CFDA welcomed 28 new members with a cozy cocktail party hosted by Elie Tahari and his wife Rory. The Tahari’s SoHo space is grand and palatial – a far cry from the park benches Mr. Tahari has admitted to sleeping on some 35 years ago when he first arrived from Israel. The mild weather provided a perfect evening for a rooftop party, and a DJ spinned tunes while guests sipped their drinks and took in the spectacular view. Inside, waiters whisked around the floor offering a cornucopia of hors d’oeuvres and Veuve Clicquot Rose. Many invitees filled up on the mini chicken samoasas, bite sized tuna, tiny Peking duck rolls, caviar, etc., then quickly ran home to watch the debate.
Nonetheless, the soiree drew in an “A-list” crowd including: Diane von Furstenberg (CFDA President), Yeohlee Teng, Arnold Scaasi, John Bartlett, Nicole Miller, Robert Lee Morris, Patrick McMullen, Fern Mallis, Martha Stewart, Carlos Falchi, Joan Vass, Richard Mauro, Teri Agins, Joe Boxer, Koos van den Akker, Charles Nolan, Eric Javits, Janis Savitt, Lisa Marsh, Jesse Randall and Stan Herman (former CFDA President).
Founded in 1962, The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. is a non-profit association consisting of 319 of America’s preeminent fashion and accessory designers. 2008 embraces the following new members: Ron Anderson & David Rees (TENTHOUSANDTHINGS), Michael Bastian, Andrew Buckler, Sophie Buhai & Lisa Mayock (VENA CAVA), Rachel Comey, Philip Crangi, Erica Davies (DEVELOPMENT), Holly Dunlap (HOLLYWOULD), Cheryl Finnegan (VIRGINS, SAINTS, & ANGELS), Dana Foley & Anna Corinna Sellinger (FOLEY + CORINNA), Jenni Kayne, Naeem Khan, Eunice Lee (UNIS), Fiona Kotur Marin (KOTUR), Malia Mills, Sandra Muller (LILA GEMS), Thakoon Panichgul, Robin Renzi (ME&RO), Brian Reyes, Loree Rodkin, Kara Ross, Amy Smilovic (TIBI), Sue Stemp, Scott Sternberg (BAND OF OUTSIDERS), Araks Yeramyan.
What makes this organization so special is the commitment and support given to future and established American designers. Diane von Furstenberg writes in her letter (in the 2007 report), “During my first year as President I have tried to protect the best interest of designers and the American fashion industry. Every decision I have made, and will make in the future, is to support the Membership.” Not only does the CFDA recognize and foster design talent, the council has pioneered ‘The Design Piracy Prohibition Act’ protecting original designs for a period of three years from their registration (with the U.S. Copyright Office). Hopefully, this law will help safeguard designers as well as preserve the apparel industry in the United States. That is certainly a cause worth fighting for.