NEW YORK — Donna Karan drew quite a fashion crowd when she hosted a party to welcome the crop of new CFDA members at her apartment on Tuesday night. There was just one person missing from the bash — Karan herself. She was in Australia with Nomad Two Worlds photographer Russell James, but found a good substitute in her daughter Gaby Karan de Felice, who was charged with decorating the sprawling Central Park West digs with candles and flowers.
“She really wanted to be here,” said Karan de Felice, who also made sure the apartment was still intact after the last few guests left. “I did get a lawyer telling me to make sure the noise level is under control. I don’t think we have to worry about this crowd.”
She was right. The new Council of Fashion Designers of America members, including Olivier Theyskens, Charlotte Ronson, Mara Hoffman, Prabal Gurung, Melissa Joy Manning and Andrea Lieberman, enjoyed the vistas and admired Karan’s art collection. They were joined by existing CFDA members Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, Elie Tahari, Catherine Malandrino and Robert Geller.
The night started off with CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg reminding the new members that the association serves to protect American designers and that, one day in the future, it will be their job to do the same for the newer generations. Von Furstenberg inspired quite a few with her words. “We are new members and future presidents,” said Claude Morais, who designs Ruffian with his partner Brian Wolk. “I give myself 15 years.”
On Wednesday afternoon, it was off to work for the new members at the bi-annual CFDA member meeting. During that meeting, Marc Jacobs and Proenza Schouler’s Hernandez and McCollough were confirmed as new board members, joining the group of 26 other designers on the board, including Tory Burch, Francisco Costa, Oscar de la Renta, Norma Kamali and Narciso Rodriguez. Jacobs, Hernandez and McCollough had been nominated at the member meeting last July. Nicole Miller, John Bartlett and Richard Lambertson will leave the board and become members of the organization’s emeritus board.