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.
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
Luxury handbag resale company @rebagofficial is planning to sell a rare collectible for $70,000: the @hermes White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin. The exclusive Birkin sold for about $100,000 in 2008, when @davidbeckham bought one for his wife @victoriabeckham to add to her collection. Read more about the rare Birkin on WWD.com #wwdaccessories
With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)