By  on November 5, 2007

The $35 billion accessories market continues to grow at a rapid pace, and some of last year's standouts will be celebrated at tonight's 11th annual Accessories Council Excellence Awards.

Held in New York at Cipriani on 42nd Street, the awards are expected to attract honorees and accessories aficionados such as Mandy Moore and presenters including actress Kerry Washington. In past years, Jennifer Lopez, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Jessica Simpson and Sean "Diddy" Combs have received awards.

The trophies double as accessories themselves. Designed by Leiber president Frank Zambrelli, the award is a clear crystal minaudière with a mirror on the interior that is engraved with the winner's name.

"The mission of the Accessories Council is to increase consumer awareness, especially at this time of the year," said Karen Giberson, the council's president.

While it is an industry event, the photographs of the A-list attendees are projected through media outlets across the globe. "Consumers really pay attention to what [people] are wearing," Giberson added.

This year will be no different. Washington will present Tory Burch with the honor of Accessory Brand Launch. Burch delved into handbags, footwear and jewelry in fall 2006.

"Accessories are an essential part of our brand," Burch said. "For now, we are focusing on continuing to grow our shoe and handbag collection. It's important for me to expand slowly so we can stay true to our original vision and keep giving customers what they want and need."

The Reva ballet flat — named after Burch's mother, whom she calls her muse — has been a success for the company.

"The success of the Reva ballerina has been beyond anything I ever could have imagined," the designer added. "The Reva introduced our brand to a much younger customer, which is great to see,

because I have always hoped our brand would appeal to women of all ages."

Nancy Gonzalez will receive her award for Brand of the Year from Bergdorf Goodman chief executive Jim Gold.

"We have a very significant business with Nancy Gonzalez," Gold said in 2006 when the specialty store devoted the entire Arcade space to Gonzalez to display its exotic skin bags. "We feel their product is unique and they earned that space. They have a very loyal following of women who love to add to their collections season after season."Santiago Gonzalez, president of the firm and the son of its founder, said: "It's interesting that we're winning Brand of the Year because we only have one category [bags]. It shows that you can be large, make the volume and be resonant in the industry even though you're not creating a lifestyle brand."

Marc Jacobs, who has sent satchels with malachite and agate closures, surrealist hair bow-sunglasses photo-printed with Elizabeth Taylor's eyes and shoes with heels attached the wrong way down the runway, is taking the prize of Designer of the Year. Helena Christensen will present his award.

"Project Runway" co-star Nina Garcia will present Heidi Klum with the Fashion Influencer Award. The "Project Runway" host, jewelry designer, model and mother of three loves her accessories and is getting ready to launch a new jewelry collection exclusively for the TV show.

Songstress-cum-actress Moore will be awarded the Fashion Innovator award.

"I love accessories because they allow me to express my individual style at any given moment," Moore said. "I play with them to add an edgy touch or a flirty moment to my ensemble."

Moore is rarely without a scarf, hoop earrings and chunky rings, which she collects during her travels. She also has a penchant for Missoni scarves, Anita Ko jewelry and Christian Louboutin shoes. But it's extremes that she prefers when it comes to footwear.

"Either superhigh or flat," she said. "I don't wear anything in between."

Coach president and executive creative director Reed Krakoff will present Moore's award. The singer/actress was Coach's spokesmodel in 2005 and Krakoff held a private listening party when her album "Wild Hope" bowed in June.

While Moore's collection of jersey dresses and tops, Mblem, doesn't include accessories as of yet, she said "never say never," about going into the hot category.

The recently retired Valentino will not be present to accept his Hall of Fame Award, but Vogue editor at large André Leon Talley will present it to actress Lucy Liu, a Valentino fan who is accepting on his behalf. Valentino's array of accessories ranges from satchels in exotic skins and crystal-drenched necklaces to ornate and sky-high stilettos.Harper's Bazaar editor in chief Glenda Bailey will be accepting the award Magazine of the Year. The magazine has increased its accessories pages exponentially in the past year and a half.

Jacobs is doing double duty as an honoree and presenter. He will present W and WWD executive editor Bridget Foley with the Mary Lou Luther Award for Fashion Journalism.

Jessica Simpson, whose shoes, clothes and Hair-Do hair extensions are sold at Macy's, will present Macy's Inc. chairman, president and ceo Terry Lundgren with Retailer of the Year. Lundgren has said the handbag market is hot and that women's thirst for bags is nowhere near being quenched.

Millard "Mickey" Drexler, chairman and ceo of J. Crew, will present Scoop co-founder Stefani Greenfield with Specialty Retailer of the Year. Scoop carries an array of accessories, from fashion-forward legwear to bags and shoes.

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