NEW YORK — Young designers are starting to get a little respect.
Swarovski, the crystal company, is expected to give a cash prize of $10,000 to each of the winners in the two “new designer talent” categories at the Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Awards on June 2. In addition, the winners each will receive a $10,000 credit for Swarovski products, plus a trip to Wattens, Austria, to tour the company’s headquarters and museum, a Swarovski spokeswoman said.
This is the first time that the awards, which have been renamed Swarovski’s Perry Ellis Awards to reflect the sponsorship, will include a monetary prize. Organizers of the event hope this will turn around an industry urban legend that the Perry Ellis Awards, as they were formerly known, are cursed. Past winners such as David Cameron, Gordon Henderson, Christian Francis Roth, Victor Alfaro, Isaac Mizrahi and Todd Oldham ran into financial troubles shortly after they won.
“We know what a difficult business this is and we’re committed to helping these designers succeed,” said a Swarovski spokeswoman. “We hope it’s going to be a long-term relationship with the CFDA.”
Although Swarovski is backing the award, Perry Ellis International — the company that succeeded the late designer — is also standing by its brand heritage and will co-host a party with Vogue magazine for the nominees on May 12 at the International Center of Photography. This year’s nominees are Proenza Schouler, Zac Posen and Behnaz Sarafpour for ready-to-wear and Brian Atwood, Hollywould and Gunmetal for accessories.
In other news, UNITE filed suit against Perry Ellis International over the denial of UNITE’s rights as a PEI shareholder. The suit, last week in Miami-Dade County, claims PEI has refused UNITE’s request for a list of PEI’s shareholders. UNITE contends in the suit it is entitled under Florida law to a copy of the list, but PEI refused requests. The lawsuit alleges UNITE is seeking the shareholder list to communicate with fellow shareholders concerning certain proposals company management will be putting to a vote at the annual shareholders’ meeting, expected to be held in May.
Meanwhile, PEI appointed Keva Silversmith as director of corporate marketing and investor relations, effective immediately. Silversmith will report directly to George Feldenkreis, chairman and chief executive.