It was slow going for the first hour of Fashion Group International’s annual designer benefit on Thursday, but boy did things heat up when Donna Karan took the podium and pointed the finger at her own chief executive, Fred Wilson, who’s widely rumored to be taking over the reins of Saks Fifth Avenue — although she was the last to know.
“Fred, you are my family and you always will be,” said Karan, jabbing the affable executive, who is credited with cleaning up her business since it was acquired by LVMH Moët Hennesy Louis Vuitton. Karan stoked the flames a bit more when she threw her hat into the ring for any available jobs in the industry.
“There’s so many of the designers here I want to work for,” Karan told the audience. “When I saw Dries Van Noten, I had a coronary attack. I’d like to experience other areas of design. I’ve always said I’d love to design Jean Paul Gaultier. MAC, I’ll do makeup. Calvin [Tsao], if you need an assistant in your studio. Fred, if you find you need a replacement as the ceo of my company, I’m available….As a woman, I’d like to see a woman standing here next year running for president. Of course, I’m available to do that as well.”
Karan was half-kidding, but FGI’s annual Night of Stars hasn’t usually been a provocative affair. But this year, the celebrity factor threatened to overwhelm the event, as Liza Minnelli, Demi Moore, Lisa Marie Presley and daughter Riley Keough, Uma Thurman, Grace Jones and Iman nearly eclipsed the designers. There were many on hand: honorees Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, Gaultier, Van Noten and Philip Treacy, Pierre Cardin, plus Amanda Brooks and Bryan Bradley, Behnaz Sarafpour, Miguel Adrover, Zac Posen, Maria Cornejo, David Meister, Cathy Hardwick, James Purcell and Pamela Dennis — many of them wearing their own designs or dragging a gaggle of models in their latest collections. Tsao was honored for architecture, and awards were also presented to Cartier and John Demsey of MAC.“Can you believe this?” asked Michael Kors as he escaped the media pen, about 20 minutes after his arrival with Karolina Kurkova. “This used to be so small, and when we pulled up, Karolina turned to me in the car and said, ‘I’m really shy.’”
Fortunately, she was kidding, and worked reporters all along the red carpet in a yellow lace dress. Gaultier wore one of his first men’s skirts from a 1985 collection, while Chloë Sevigny looked more sophisticated than usual, in a white Jeffrey Chow gown.
“We have the same hairdresser,” she said.
Minnelli wore a coat by Gianfranco Ferré, who was also in town last week.
“It’s a coat he made just for me,” Minnelli said. “That’s all you need: a little Ferré, some slacks and a tan job.”
Grace Jones arrived with her customary zeal, in long leather gloves, an Issey Miyake dress and one of Treacy’s elaborate hats, a ruby crystal-covered, form-fitting skullcap that covered her eyes and extended a foot beyond her head, leaving her mouth the only visible part of her body. The waiters circling her table kept bumping into the hat, knocking the poor thing around all night.
“At least she only had to put on half the makeup,” Iman said.
The late entrance of the Dolce & Gabbana entourage led to another round of paparazzi madness, as did Thurman’s in a stunning gown by Gaultier.
“They say God is in the details,” she said in presenting an award to the designer. “When you take a Gaultier dress and turn it inside out, I think God would feel well served by Gaultier.”
But it was Demi Moore who stole the evening as she presented Karan’s “superstar” award. Moore usually complains about her nervousness in public speaking at these events. She began with an ode to making dreams into reality, something about tenacity, diversity and adversity, before pulling out a surprise, Karan’s 1972 recommendation letter for membership in FGI, a hand-written note from her former employer, Anne Klein, which the actress read aloud:“‘Her personality is one of maturity, evenness and pleasant and courteous in every respect. Her character is one of objectivity, accomplishment and every job carried out. In addition to her accomplishment as a designer, Ms. Karan has excellent organizational skills and a fine sense of detail.’”
Given Karan’s own admission that she is rarely any of the above, the letter drew a few laughs. But if she’s really heading out to the job market, at least she’s got a handy reference.
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye