A Week of Celebrations & Awards

It seems everyone is celebrating an ‘anniversary’ of one kind or another these days, and doing so in high style.

last week I attended the ACE Awards (Accessories Excellence Awards) and the sold out, star studded evening, held at Cipriani 42nd street was a testament to the group’s increasingly high profile and the importance of accessories as a major category. It also marked the New York based group’s 10th anniversary.

Even though tin is the present or object traditionally associated with the number 10, you didn’t really think luxury handbag wizard Judith Lieber would resort to this ‘lowly’ material when commissioned to create the brand new Ace Award to commemorate the occasion, did you? What she did turn out (quite an amazing accessory itself) was a weighty and substantial crystal minaudiere with a sterling silver plaque inside which was so covetable, honoree Suzy Menkes had hers snatched from her table when she turned away for a nano second.

But speaking of sterling silver, this metal happens to symbolize the 25th anniversary, which is the magic number for Ralph Rucci, who quite deservedly finds himself in the spotlight and the center of attention as of late. The fashion designer celebrated his 25th year in business with a festive party for about 250 guests in his new sprawling Soho loft on Saturday night. Avowed Ralph supporters and friends who helped mark the occasion, enjoying delicacies provided by Glorious Foods included Joan Kaner (who is getting ready to leave for Sarasota for the winter), Martha Stewart, Bill Dugan, Iris Apfel, Hamish Bowles, Cathy Horyn, and Amy Fine Collins.

The award winning designer moved downtown from his former longtime 7th Avenue showroom about one year ago, but has not presented his collections in this decidedly more ‘lofty’ space located at 536 Broadway, just across the street from Prada. Instead, he’s been ending New York Fashion Week at the Bryant Park Tents.

Quite frankly, the move to Soho, the legendary artist’s Mecca, couldn’t be more suitable and fitting, given that this talented visionary is not only a world class designer and couturier, who is always inspired by sculpture, architecture, and art, but happens to be an accomplished artist himself (with a number of one man shows under his belt). And as if to emphasize this connection, last month he received FIT’s inaugural Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion.

The FIT graduate who is known for his innovative cuts and construction, impeccable craftsmanship, exceptional quality and artistry of design, is being further honored by his alma mater. From January 12th to April 14th, a major exhibition of his work, ‘Ralph Rucci’ will be mounted at The Museum at FIT (www.fitedu.org).

Last night, FIT’s John Reeves Great Hall was the venue for a party hosted by FIT and The Educational Foundation. The raison d’etre? To celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Doneger Group, “the leading source of global market trends and merchandising strategies to the retail and fashion industry” renown for its expert and highly sought after trend and color forecasting services. (These include Doneger Creative, Margit Publications, Tobe, Here & There, in addition to merchandising, consulting and on-line Services).

Diamonds traditionally symbolize 60, and while there may not have been any diamonds given out as party favors, or used in the décor, there was a wonderful (and extensive) buffet with a dizzying assortment of edibles, an open bar, fruit, dessert, coffee and tea. Mingling in the crowd (and I mean, CROWD) were such as Dr. Valerie Steele, Chief Curator of The Museum at FIT, Sue Rolantz from the Tobe Report (Tobe was sold to Doneger in October, 2005), industry legends Gloria Gelfand and Lawrence Leeds, and David Wolfe, the highly visible and well respected creative director of Doneger’s Creative Services.

And just in case you forgot what the evening was all about, some of the walls were dressed with floor to ceiling posters chronicling the Doneger timeline from its inception in 1946 (when Henry Doneger and his partner, Jack Lasersohn formed a resident buying office named Lasersohn-Doneger, located on the 2nd floor of the National Hotel on 7th Avenue and 42nd street) up to the present time, under headings like “Growing through the years”, “Continuing to expand”, “Positioned for the future”.

In another section of the room, floor to ceiling images stared out at you with the headlines, “Do You Remember”? These hard to forget pictures from past decades, were a mix of iconic ad campaigns (for fashion houses, movies, TV shows, sports gear, and automobiles), magazine covers, and included iconic fashion symbols who shaped an era and defined a decade.

So there was Kate Moss holding a Louis Vuitton bag (from a recent campaign); a white pant suited John Travolta from ‘Saturday Night Fever’; Woody Allen and Diane Keaton from ‘Annie Hall’; the four stars of ‘Sex and the City’ clad in little black dresses; Brooke Shields wearing her Calvins (and nothing else) in that famous black and white ad; the famous portrait of the late Princess Diana wearing a black turtleneck sweater; a British Vogue cover from the 90’s featuring supermodels Cindy Crawford, Tatiana Patiz, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell.

There were ads for IPod, Nike, Polo Sport, and of course, Starbucks. Indeed, where would be all be without that jolting cup of java? There was also a large picture of Henry Doneger smack dab in the center. By the way, Henry Doneger Associates is the group’s foundation and all proceeds from the evening (the tickets were $500) will benefit the Henry Doneger Scholarship Fund at FIT.

– 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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