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NEW YORK — After years of championing fashion designers and artists, Nadja Swarovski and Frank Doroff were honored Wednesday by the Museum of Arts & Design here with its Visionaries! Awards.
Dutch designer Marcel Wanders and entrepreneur Ella Fontanals-Cisneros also received awards at the museum’s 14th annual gala at Pier Sixty, which was attended by 750 people and raised $1.7 million.
The museum, formerly known as the American Craft Museum, is sprucing up its image and plans to move into a new home at 2 Columbus Circle here in September.
Swarovski, vice president of international communications for the crystal business that bears her family’s name, said that when she heard news of the award, “I thought, ‘My gosh, is it even deserved?’ I live vicariously through designers who are doing so much amazing work.”
The honoree, whose mother, Danna, and grandfather, Robert Strieter, attended the festivities, had some fun at one guest’s expense. With a baby due in March, Swarovski pulled a poker face and responded, “No,” when asked if she was pregnant.
In terms of business additions, Swarovski plans to continue with its designer collaborations.
Doroff, senior executive vice president and general merchandise manager of Bloomingdale’s, described himself as “more the guy who likes to stay in the background.” He said the retailer will continue to fasten its ties to the art world — something Bloomingdale’s did through its fall advertising — but declined to elaborate.
In general, the worlds of fashion and art will only get closer, he said. “I think discovering talent inextricably links the fashion industry and the art industry.”
Wanders’ appearance in Gap’s fall advertising campaign supported that idea. But the designer said he has not been swept away by the exposure. “We get requests regularly, but I’m trying to be a designer. This was really cool photography and of course I thought it would be great fun, so why not? But it is not my intention to become a model.”
He will, however, be the host of a new design-lifestyle program on the BBC set to make its debut next fall. Collaborations with “a very important jewelry company in the U.S. and a makeup company” are also in the works, he said.
“I’m in a serious business….To get a prize in New York from the American people is kind of important to me,” Wanders said.