NEW YORK — This month’s government shutdown didn’t deter the Cooper-Hewitt from throwing its National Design Awards at Pier Sixty Thursday night.
Nonfurloughed National Design Museum staffers worked from home, cafés or borrowed office space to try to keep things up-to-speed, including organizing the annual gala. Former vice president Al Gore honored TED, Tom Wolfe waxed poetic about Lifetime Achievement winner James Wines and Elettra Wiedemann touted Fashion Design winner Behnaz Sarafpour at the David Stark-designed bash. And Todd Oldham presented the People’s Design Award to PackH2O, a water-carrying backpack designed by Greif Inc. for women in developing countries. While by no means intentional, the unprecedented lead-up to the gala captured what the actual event celebrated — the transformative power of design.
In accepting TED’s Corporate & Institutional Achievement award, Chris Anderson said, “Design isn’t just about the prettification and functionality of amazing objects. It’s so much bigger than that. It’s pulling the camera back. It’s a way of thinking that can be applied to almost anything. Ultimately, it’s the amazing human ability to reimagine the future.”
Sarafpour faced her own design challenge earlier in the night. “They told me to write a little speech and I had it on my iPhone. Then I touched it and Siri took over,” she said.
The glitch didn’t diminish the honor. “It’s kind of mind-boggling to be in this setting with all these incredible inventors. That’s kind of humbling,” Sarafpour said. “They are all people you know of because their work has touched your life even though you don’t know them.”
Having met Wines on the threshold of his career, Wolfe recalled how Wines once said of Best Products, a precursor to Costco and Wal-Mart, “‘I don’t care if they want to build these boring glass boxes, after all this country is built on freedom of choice, but why do they always have to leave those little turds behind in the plaza?’ He was talking about the sculptures of Henry Moore and the squiggles of Noguchi. I think the word ‘turd’ had not entered Bartlett’s Book of Familiar Quotations until that time — just a side note.”
Wines’ 1978 Forest Building helped make Best’s income soar, Wolfe said. “These were the first new buildings after Modernism. Post-Modernism was just a famous stumble from Modernism. James Wines introduced something new. He took buildings and he turned them into pictures, artworks, but not by adding anything.”
For his part, Wines said, “Of all the works of art I really love, it’s really not so much what it is, but what it makes you think about,” he said.
Picking up the final prize, PackH2O’s David Fischer reminded guests one billion people have to fetch water daily. “Design helps everyone. Design helps the richest and wealthiest countries of the world and it can also change the lives of the poorest among us. In fact, it not only changes our lives — it can save our lives. Good design matters at the base of the period,” he said.
And as a further reminder, the Cooper-Hewitt sent guests home with an Yves Behar-designed Sodastream bottle.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews