NEW YORK — The question is familiar in fashion circles: “What becomes a legend most?”
According to the Pratt Institute, it is people who are role models to their students. And so, at this year’s Pratt Legends awards, the school honored sportswear designer Cathy Hardwick, costume jeweler Kenneth Jay Lane, theater director Robert Wilson, artist James Rosenquist and architect Helmut Jahn.
“We recognize people who become legends in fields that we teach,” said Marc A. Rosen, the packaging designer who co-chaired the gala benefit dinner with fellow Pratt alumnus Juliana Curran Terian, chief executive officer of the Rallye Group. “They serve as role models to our students.”
The Pratt Legends program was created in 1999 to raise money for student scholarships. This year’s event at Gotham Hall raised $500,000.
“I don’t know why they gave me this award,” Hardwick said. “There are so many people who deserve it. I thought, as a legend, you’d have to be dead like Chanel or bigger than life like my friend Tom Ford.”
Hardwick is credited with giving Ford his first job out of college and he was scheduled to present her with the award, but was said to be stuck in Los Angeles in negotiations to clinch the first movie deal for his Fade to Black Productions. Instead, Ford sent a video in which he recalled how he went about getting his first job with Hardwick. Brimming with ambition, Ford went to a bank and got a bag of quarters, which he then used to call Hardwick from her lobby every few minutes. She finally took his call, and asked him when she could see him. He said immediately, since he was just downstairs.
“I have known Cathy for many years, and it’s about time she was being honored,” said Bill Blass creative director Michael Vollbracht. “She is an unsung hero of Seventh Avenue. She can take an inexpensive fabric and make it look expensive. Now that’s real talent.”
Asked about the possible sale of Bill Blass, Vollbracht said: “I got two words: Stay tuned.”
Pratt junior Blaise Kavanagh received the 2005 Mados Patrons Scholar Award of one year’s tuition, courtesy of Suzanne Mados. That night, his white bias-cut silk evening gown was on display, and Kavanagh explained that he aspires to have his own couture business. He is studying fashion design at Pratt, and interning with Lucy Sykes Baby and Thom Browne, who lent him a tuxedo for the night.“My mother encouraged me to get into fashion,” he said. “When I was four years old, I was in A&S with her, and I picked her an outfit that she wore for years.”
Arlene Dahl accepted the award for Wilson, who was in a hospital in Berlin with an ulcer. Lane, when accepting his award, credited Diana Vreeland and Fulco Verdura for inspiring him in his career, and recalled how he started as a cobbler before turning to costume jewelry — something he never regretted.
“Jewelry doesn’t hurt, but shoes can hurt,” he quipped. “I have always been a legend, and it was hard on my parents when I decided that at the age of eight.”
“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