NEW YORK — "It takes enormous determination, courage, energy and passion — not to mention 24-hour work cycles — to make it in business these days," keynote speaker Liz Lange told the audience at the Fashion Group International's ninth annual Rising Star Awards on Thursday.

The awards recognize emerging talents and many past winners have gone on to successful fashion careers. For the first time, the women's apparel award was a tie, between Phillip Lim and Ruffian designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais.

"It doesn't happen like that at the Oscars," Wolk said in accepting the honor.

The crowd at the New York Hilton included Jonathan Adler, Richard Lambertson, Carlos Falchi, Susan Posen, Robert Lee Morris and Stefani Greenfield of Scoop, as well as the nominees, ranging from Zaldy Goco to Darby Scott, Matthew Earnest and Woozie Wear's Douglas Perlman.

Dylan Lauren, who took home the award for retail, thanked Greenfield, who introduced her, and said Scoop, in some ways, served as a model when she was developing Dylan's Candy Bar.

"I probably looked at all of you for inspiration, so thank you," Lauren said.

The finalists were determined by Fashion Group members and an industry panel. Roberto Faraone Mennella and Amedeo Scognamiglio of Faraone Mennella picked up the award for fine jewelry, and the accessories award went to Gunmetal's Michael Spaulding and George Gublo. In the beauty/fragrance category, the corporate honors went to Clement Gavarry of International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., while the entrepreneur award was bestowed upon Laurice Rahmé of Bond No. 9 New York.

The Fashion Group gave Thom Browne the men's apparel award, and honored Ernest de la Torre of De la Torre Design Studio in the home and interior design field.

In her keynote, maternity designer Lange spoke about the initial opposition she faced from retailers, recalling how one told her that pregnancy, because it was only nine months, meant that women didn't care about their appearance during that time.

"No matter what anyone says, if you think you have a good idea, you probably do ... don't let anyone tell you they can't be done," she said.

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