Since 1986, the Council of Fashion Designers of America has issued the Perry Ellis Award, now known as the Swarovski Award, to promising talent on the rise. Some have stayed at the top—like Marc Jacobs, who won the Perry Ellis Award in 1987, Isaac Mizrahi in 1988, Cynthia Rowley in 1994, and Proenza Schouler in 2003. In fact, many of the honorees of the last five years have fared well since taking home their prizes, but plenty others have either hit big bumps in the road, or fell off the fashion grid entirely. As Daryl Kerrigan, who won the award in 1996 said, "You know, a fashion career is one great marathon, which tests your endurance. When I won the young designer of the year in 1996, I was at the beginning of the race. That award was 'Welcome to the club—here is your official ID number. Good luck. Next.'"
A look into the whereabouts of past Perry Ellis winners turned up empty on several accounts, including Gordon Henderson (1989), Robert Freda (men's wear 1994) and Marie-Anne Oudejans for Tocca (1995). Here, an update on some of American fashion's former up-and-comers.
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