NEW YORK — When it comes to career advice, trust Simon Doonan to deliver it with abundant humor.
“Think of me as a gay male version of Maggie Smith’s character in ‘Downton Abbey,’” Doonan said in his keynote speech at Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Awards Tuesday. Like the Dowager Countess of Grantham, his quips came with the right timing to add a necessary lightness to the lengthy luncheon at Cipriani 42nd Street.
“When you become established, do not make the mistake, as many designers do, of giving away free frocks to overpaid movie actors,” he told the crowd, which included Graziano de Boni, Hal Rubenstein, Ruffian’s Brian Wolk and Claude Morais, Steven Stolman, Amy Astley and Mickey Ateyeh. “Celebrities are very high-maintenance and should be forced to pay 10 percent more than regular people. That’s the celebrity surcharge.”
He also said, “Make sure your star is on a dimmer, so that you can adjust it and give the rest of us an occasional break from your blinding, twinkling fabulosity.”
And that was just a sampling. Whether or not the winners in the nine categories took Doonan’s wisdom to heart remains to be seen, but at least they got to have a good chuckle.
In women’s ready-to-wear, this year’s winner was Giovanna Randall of Honor; in men’s wear, it was a tie between Ian Velardi and Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss. The latter’s heartfelt acceptance speech touched many of the guests. “I want to thank my girlfriend for letting me max out all our credit cards,” Jean-Raymond said. “Chase, American Express, Capital One, every other credit union.”
He promised to get her a ring when all are paid off.
The accessories award was a tie between Edmundo Castillo, who has been designing shoes for more than a decade, and Warby Parker’s Neil Blumenthal and David Gilboa. The fine jewelry award went to Margery Hirschey and retail to Rachel Shechtman of Story. Michael Preysman of Everlane took home the Karen Harvey Business Innovator Award.
Fashion Group’s beauty/fragrance entrepreneur trophy went to Belle Fleur’s Tony Perez and Meredith Waga; the beauty/fragrance corporate trophy was given to Ruhi Patil of International Flavors & Fragrances.
Finally, Anna Karlin won in the home/interior design category.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast