While the American Image Awards honored an impressive cross section of industry leaders, it’s most stirring moment came when 10 Special Olympians took the stage for “The Star Spangled Banner” and waved proudly back at the standing ovation.
Later, the Special Olympians mingled with the crowd of more than 450 as they passed out chocolate Olympic gold medals with red, white and blue ribbons. The event, held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan and sponsored by the American Apparel & Footwear Association, raised $750,000, with 40 percent of the net proceeds to benefit Special Olympics. Apropos to the evening’s message about supporting those who must overcome handicaps, Marlee Matlin, the only deaf performer to win an Academy Award, emceed the event.
The Man of the Year award went to William Sweedler of private equity firm Tengram Capital Partners, who recalled some of his father’s advice, which he didn’t take. “Whatever you do, don’t go into the apparel industry. Go to Wall Street,” Sweedler said, repeating his father’s words. “I went to the dark side — to private equity.”
Robert Graham chief executive officer Michael Buckley and cochairman and chief creative officer Robert Stock accepted the Men’s Wear Brand of the Year award, with Buckley crediting his partnership with Sweedler’s Tengram Capital, the brand’s owner, for transforming a dinner shirt company into a lifestyle brand that is now in the late-stages of a plan to offer a fragrance line.
DL1961’s creative director Sarah Ahmed and director Zahra Ahmed, who are sisters, accepted the Denim Brand of the Year award. “There’s an emotional connection with a pair of jeans,” said Sarah.
Supima Cotton president Jesse Curlee accepted the Premium Fiber Brand of the Year award, while Ruthie Davis accepted the Footwear Designer of the Year award. Humanitarian of the Year went to Barry Sternlicht, founder, chairman and ceo of investment firm Starwood Capital Group, who was unable to attend.
Guests in attendance included former NBA star and Olympic gold medalist Sam Perkins, and Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan, a Special Olympics board member, who introduced Janet Froetscher, ceo of Special Olympics. Froetscher congratulated the honorees, thanked the AAFA for supporting Special Olympics, and spoke of the value of athletics in elevating the quality of life for the intellectually or medically disabled.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia