NEW YORK — A multitude of women in tailored suits paraded into the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center Wednesday afternoon, a light rainfall dripping onto their men’s wear-inspired pieces. The crowd gathered to celebrate designer Thom Browne, who was being honored at the Couture Council of the Museum of FIT’s annual luncheon, which raised nearly $1 million.
“He sticks to his ideas and doesn’t veer all over the place,” remarked Martha Stewart, who proudly displayed a newly acquired crocodile skin handbag by the designer. Stewart was quick to express her general love of fashion week, but noted aggravation when “a show starts really late and I miss something else.”
“I’m already clocking only four and five hours of sleep since I came back from vacation on Monday night,” revealed Linda Fargo. The Bergdorf Goodman senior vice president of fashion was part of the committee who selected Browne for the 2017 Couture Council Award for Artistry.
“Thom deserves a major retrospective already — already,” she emphasized. “I hope he’s done a damn good job documenting himself.”
Browne, dressed in his signature gray suit with calf-baring half-pants and red, white and blue grosgrain detailing, was humbled by the honor. “When I started I knew nothing about the fashion world and didn’t even think I was doing something that was fashion,” he revealed. “It’s so surreal to me. I never even thought of me being part of this world.”
Whoopi Goldberg, the luncheon’s emcee, caused the room to pause as she floated in wearing a bulbous orange robe from the designer’s spring 2017 collection. “My feet are so big they couldn’t fit in [his] shoes so I have my own shoes on and I have my own headwrap, but this [robe] he did last year and I begged him for one — so he sent it to me,” revealed the actress.
Gushing about Browne’s often-irreverent designs, Goldberg added, “He’s like nobody else — he has an eye for fun and fashion.” As attendees including Brooke Shields, Eileen Guggenheim, Fe Fendi and Fern Mallis lunched on fried chicken paired with lobster, the “View” host presented the award to her friend.
“When I started my collection close to 15 years ago I didn’t want to be just another designer,” the Pennsylvania native said to the crowd. “I wanted to put ideas in front of people who made them think. Ideas that they either loved or they hated, but not just liked.”