‘Rising’ to the Occasion

Yesterday, Fashion Group International held its 10th Annual Rising Star Awards at a jam packed luncheon which took place in the Trianon Ballroom of the New York Hilton. The Awards were created a decade ago, as a way to celebrate new and emerging talent and to pay homage to the “innovation, creativity, and accomplishment” of 8 individuals.

Margaret Hayes, President, Fashion Group International, delivered the opening Welcome address and introduced the event’s Keynote Speaker, famed designer Joseph Abboud. The dapper and popular veteran posed the question, “Who is the American Designer Today?” noting that it’s “the designers who breathe life into a label”. He went on to say that when a designer can prove his or her creativity and formidable talent, they can then become legends.

In reference to his longevity, years of experience, and dues paid along the way, he jokingly observed, “My hair is grayer now than when I started in 1988” and he went on to engage the room in a number of personal and amusing recollections, which were meant to prove thought provoking and relevant to the young hopefuls (and everyone else) in attendance.

He described in full detail how he scored an all important interview with the House of Chanel (for the position as head of design for menswear, an enviable position he eventually nabbed), a veritable 24 hour comedy of errors which took place between London and Paris. He then addressed the issue of creativity, and what it means to stick to your guns and never compromise. This time, his story focused on his discovery of beautifully colored rocks on the beach in Nantucket, and what he had to go through in order to find someone who would be able to translate them into colors for an upcoming collection (he found one such factory in the far reaches of Scotland). The moral to both stories is that a young designer should “never give up, even in the face of great odds and obstacles”. “It’s about YOU and fulfilling yourself creatively” he said.

And then came the ‘Main Event’: the awards were handed out to 8 emerging stars, in 8 different categories, presented by 8 proven stars in each category:

Accessories – Award presenter: Donna Kalajian Lagani; Winner: Margret Karner, Massivesilver, Inc.
Beauty/Fragrance Corporate – Award presenter: Jane Larkworthy; Winner: Shirley Dong, Avon
Beauty/Fragrance Entrepreneur – Award presenter: Sonia Kashuk; Winner: Dr. Steven Victor, Victor Cosmeceuticals
Home/Interior Design – Award presenter: Jamie Drake; Winner: David Ashen, D-ash Design Fine Jewelry – Award presenter: Gerard Yosca; Winner: Coomi Bhasin, Coomi
Men’s Apparel – Award presenter: Robert Bryan; Winner: Duncan Quinn, DQ, LLC
Retail – Award presenter: Nicole Fischelis; Winner: Fraser Conlon, Amaridian
Women’s Apparel – Award presenter: Carolina Herrera; Winner: Lyn Devon, Lyn Devon LLC

By the way, the event was sponsored by TARGET, Cosmopolitan, Solstiss/Bucol, and the crystal Awards were generously provided by Movado.

Alas, while attendees were not given Movado goodies as table gifts, we were treated to a wonderful luncheon and all of us did receive a fabulously oversized laminated tote bag printed all over with a colorful, pop art, vintage inspired collage from Target. (This will certainly come in handy especially for those of who will be attending the upcoming New York Fashion Week and will be in need of something roomy and lightweight to carry around notes and personal affects). And inside, was a cooly packaged lipstick “Glamorous” from Target’s Sonia Kashuk, in a wonderful shade of vibrant pink — a reminder that spring is just around the corner.

–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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