Why is it always the international designers who throw the biggest after parties following the awards dished out by the Council of Fashion Designers of America? Last year, it was Riccardo Tisci at a remodeled strip club in the Meatpacking District. Raf Simons threw this year’s on Monday night at the Ladurée macaron shop in SoHo.
After milling about Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center for a bit after the awards, the crowd migrated en masse downtown to take over the gardens of what was recently the Italian restaurant Barolo. Karlie Kloss, Joseph Altuzarra, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School, Donna Karan, Christopher Kane, Chanel Iman, James Marsden, Keri Russell, Zachary Quinto and Miles McMillan, Peter Brant Jr. and brother Harry, Tim Coppens, Shayne Oliver, Hanne Gaby Odiele, Janice Alida and Anabela Belikova all basked in yet another extravagant display of Dior’s largesse in New York. There were even especially commissioned macarons on hand — lily of the valley in Dior gray.
A little after 11 p.m., Simons arrived to be greeted by a phalanx of well-wishers and selfie-seekers. He was still shaken up from his moving speech in accepting the International Designer of the Year Award that had them weeping in the aisles earlier at Lincoln Center.
“I’m not often on stage and I’m happy to not be so often on stage because it’s an uncomfortable place for me,” he said. “I felt very honored and clearly emotional. I was happy to not be the only one. I felt embarrassed, but then after I saw [honoree] Paul [Cavaco] crying, suddenly I felt better.” It was a rather weepy awards show overall — Naomi Campbell also cried while speaking about Bethann Hardison, whom she thanked for championing racial diversity in fashion. (Later, Iman and Tyson Beckford threw Hardison her own dinner at Beautique in Midtown.) Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen dedicated their accessories award to the late designer James Ott, who had worked at The Row. Rihanna offered a moment of levity during her segment, which opened with a video featuring the singer and Anna Wintour texting, like in that old meme “Texts from Hillary.”
Simons’ outpouring was particularly directed at Pieter Mulier, now his studio director at Dior, but a constant presence at his side through highs and lows, from his days at his namesake label all the way through his tenure at Jil Sander.
“I get it again when I think about it,” he said, almost overcome with emotion as the party in his honor raged around him. “These days, when we all know what fashion has become — lots of collections, lots of shows, lots of pressure — he’s somebody who helps me get through all this.”
Altuzarra was also taking a victory stroll through the garden, having won Womenswear Designer of the Year. “I didn’t know where to put it,” he said of the statuette. “I didn’t know if to put it on the stand or on the floor. It was very surreal.”
Besides the waterworks at the awards, a highlight of the evening was host John Waters, who had by the time of Dior’s after party switched to his fourth costume change of the night, a Rag & Bone navy suit. “I would say of all the clubs I’ve played, it’s the toughest room. Prison’s easier,” he said. Despite all the energy exerted emoting earlier in the night, some people — Altuzarra, Marsden, Coppens, the Public School boys, Atlanta de Cadenet, Jenna Lyons, Scout Willis — still mustered enthusiasm to stagger over to the Top of the Standard around one in the morning.
“I feel like we’re at the scene of the crime,” a guest murmured on the elevator ride up to the rooftop, a reference to the brawl gone viral between Solange Knowles and Jay Z. With Harley Viera-Newton stationed at the DJ booth, Joan Smalls shimmied with Prabal Gurung while the rest of their clique — Quinto, Richard Chai, Kyle Hotchkiss Carone and Olivier Theyskens — was posted up by the bar. Willis was mid-iPhone-photo-shoot in front of a fluorescent wall installation. “I’m not going to talk about the topless thing,” she said, squinting from the brash red light. “Let’s talk about fashion.”
By around 2 a.m., the night was cashed — Altuzarra was then going to a diner with fiancé Seth Weissman. “I want chicken fingers,” he said.