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Resort is right around the corner, but that didn’t deter a host of designers from finding reasons to raise a glass or two in New York last week. Oscar de la Renta kicked it off Monday night when he was honored by Parsons The New School for Design, accepting the award from former president Bill Clinton.
Nicole Miller joined Steven Kolb, Stephen Burrows and others at the party Michael Kors threw to commemorate his nomination for the Council of Fashion Designers of America accessories designer of the year on Tuesday night. “It’s for all the people who work on all the production. Why shouldn’t they feel a little celebratory?” said Kors.
“I’m obsessed with all this,” he continued, gesturing toward the stylish shoes and accessories on shelves around the room. “Give me a good T-shirt, a cashmere sweater and a great pair of pants, and if you’ve got the right bag and the right shoe, you can conquer the world.”
Accessories were top of mind Wednesday afternoon, when Vera Wang caught her own runway show at the Women of Distinction awards luncheon. “It looks so much better with the accessories,” Wang told Bergdorf Goodman’s president and chief executive officer, Jim Gold, referring to the major difference between this week’s show and her most recent one in Bryant Park. Wang won this year’s Women of Distinction Award for fashion. Bergdorf Goodman sponsored the event, which benefited the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.
Awards also are in store for Wang from Women at Risk, House Beautiful’s Giants of Design and the Savannah College of Arts & Design. The designer will have an even wider audience when she fills in for Kors for a few episodes of “Project Runway.”
On Wednesday night, Miller couldn’t resist commenting on these event-packed days while accepting an A.C.E. award. “My husband and I have a joke that if we were ever stranded on a desert island, they would always find us during benefit season.”
Bud Konheim, Miller’s president and ceo, recalled first interviewing Miller many years ago. “I interviewed 170 designers for the job and asked each of them the same question: ‘What’s your idea of job satisfaction?’ Nicole said, ‘To see women wearing my clothes.’ That was the only answer I wanted to hear.”
Carolina Herrera and one of her daughters, Patricia Lansing, hosted a tour, fashion show and pre-Mother’s Day tea Thursday afternoon as part of American Express’ By Invitation Only program for select Platinum and Centurion cardholders. Herrera even selected the watercress sandwiches with spearmint and the rest of the menu for the event. “It’s a new group, new faces,” Herrera said. Guests were given $500 gift certificates for purchases made Thursday, but Herrera said she was more interested in the personal connections than any financial transactions.
On 57th Street on Thursday night at Rizzoli’s book store, Lee Radziwell welcomed other fashion fans to her signing for the rerelease of “One Special Summer,” the journal-type book she and her sister, the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, handwrote to chronicle their trip to Europe in the summer of 1951.
But if Clinton drew laughs when introducing de la Renta on Monday, Diane von Furstenberg may have topped him a few days later at Pratt’s annual fashion show Wednesday. Von Furstenberg had only kind words for close friend and Vogue editor at large André Leon Talley, who gave her the school’s first Fashion Icon Award. Dressed in her own red, pink and indigo Empire dress, she began, “Almost every morning I leave a message for André and ask, ‘Do you love me?’ Tonight, I know he does.”
The designer then went on to recall how early on in their careers they would sit at the Plaza Athénée in Paris, dressed to the nines, and draw attention from people wondering who they were.
“We would pretend that André was an African king,” she said with a laugh. Although it might have made for an odd anecdote in an acceptance speech, von Furstenberg was actually building up the audience to the greatest quip of the night.
“If Oscar got his award from a president,” she remarked,” [then] I got mine from a king.”