NEW YORK —?The Council of Fashion Designers of America inducted 15 new members on Wednesday, electing a more selective group than in recent years to reflect its mission of improving the esteem of the overall organization.
Among the women’s designers elected were Ralph Rucci, who has shown two recent couture collections in Paris in addition to his American ready-to-wear collection; Rick Owens, who won a Perry Ellis Award for women’s wear in 2002; and an emerging group of talents: Magda Berliner, Pierrot designer Pierre Carrilero, Maria Cornejo from Zero and Liliana Casabal of Morgane Le Fay. More specialized designers such as Liz Lange, who focuses on maternity wear, and Gilles Mendel of J. Mendel, who has expanded his family’s fur collection into ready-to-wear, were also endorsed as members during a board meeting.
Martin Cooper, vice president of design of U.S. outerwear for Burberry, who has worked for the company for nearly a decade, was inducted for his contributions to the brand’s transformation into a luxury goods house.
Amy Chan, Karen Suen Cooper, Erica Courtney and Kazuko were inducted for their work in accessories and jewelry, while Chris Serluco of N.Y. Based and Sean Combs of Sean John were elected for men’s wear, bringing the total membership of the organization to 263.
“It is a diverse group, but it’s very strong in that these people deserve to be here,” said Peter Arnold, executive director of the CFDA. “We scaled back the number of new members to reinforce the idea that it’s not a group you automatically join. It’s meant to mean something special to become a member.”
Prior groups have included about 20 to 25 initiates, and this year, more than 75 designers either applied or were invited to apply for membership, Arnold said. An advisory group of editors, retailers and stylists are consulted on potential members, who are then recommended by a membership committee chaired by Robert Lee Morris and composed of John Bartlett, Jeffrey Banks, Jeff Mahshie of Chaiken, Cynthia Steffe, Yeohlee, Kate Spade and Katrin Zimmermann of Exovo.
For the third consecutive year, the organization will celebrate the new members with a party, this time on Sept. 4 and hosted by Reed Krakoff, president and executive creative director of Coach, and a CFDA board member.
This story first appeared in the July 31, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.