WASHINGTON — Carolina Herrera touted the sartorial style and personal integrity of former first lady Nancy Reagan at an event here benefiting a foundation devoted to finding a cure for a disease Reagan knows all too well.
Herrera accepted the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation’s second annual Great Ladies Award on behalf of Reagan, who has fought to raise awareness and increase education and science around Alzheimer’s, a disease that her husband, former President Ronald Reagan, battled for years before he died in 2004.
Leonard A. Lauder, chairman emeritus of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. and cochairman of the foundation, along with Washington socialites Elise and Marc Lefkowitz, cohosted the event with Saks Fifth Avenue at the Ritz-Carlton here.
The event featured a fashion show of Herrera’s fall collection and a lunch and silent auction. Saks also hosted an on-site boutique offering pieces of Herrera’s fall line, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the fund to improve innovative drug research for Alzheimer’s.
“I’m very honored to be receiving the award in her name,” said Herrera, a longtime friend of Reagan’s. “She was a fantastic first lady and a very brave one, too.”
Herrera also credited Reagan for her sense of style, although she said it was Reagan’s strength, personal touches and individuality that compelled people.
“She was very glamorous,” Herrera said of Reagan as first lady. “It’s not only what she was wearing but the way she did things — from the way she received people in her house to the beautiful flower arrangements and wonderful dinners. That is all connected. It’s not only what you are wearing, it’s also the way you handle things. She handled things in a very elegant and glamorous way, which is what the first lady of this country should be.”
As for other powerful Washington women, Herrera offered some fashion advice: “Women in very important positions should not forget about femininity. Just because a woman might be a senator or president of a bank does not mean she has to dress in a mannish way.”
However, Herrera made an exception for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has often been criticized for her ubiquitous pantsuits. Herrera said she read recently that Clinton has made more than 95 trips in the last year and likely wants to be comfortable, adding, “I think it works for her.”
Ron Frasch, president and chief merchandising officer of Saks Inc., compared Reagan to current First Lady Michelle Obama.
“I lived through Mrs. Reagan’s era,” Frasch said. “She had such an amazing sense of style and was such an influence on women.…I think that is true with Mrs. Obama, too.…They are both superintelligent women who have strong lives, strong personalities and independence.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast