The CFDA's newest members on the roof of Reed Krakoff's Upper East Side townhouse.


THE NEW CLASS: Reed and Delphine Krakoff opened their Upper East Side townhouse to toast 30 of the CFDA’s newest members — each of whom had been pinned with a white corsage — at an annual cocktail reception on Tuesday night. The five-floor manse, purchased by the Krakoffs last year, felt akin to a world-class art museum, an observation not lost on the fashionable crowd. In her opening remarks, CFDA chairman Diane von Furstenberg called the home “an extraordinary work of art.”

Yet Krakoff seemed to take it in stride. “We don’t collect with a goal in mind other than living with things we love,” he said of his family’s massive collection of art objects, which included pieces by Morris Louis, Joseph Beuys, Adolph Gottlieb, Alexander Calder, Al Held and more. “It’s a mix of European paintings, abstract expressionists, industrial designers…What’s special is that almost everything in our home, we have a relationship in some way with the artists themselves. [Art] is as much a part of our lives as fashion is.”

Krakoff, who became the CFDA’s admissions committee chair earlier this year, estimated that he’s been a CFDA member for 18 years. “I actually got rejected the first time around,” he said with a laugh. “But those were different days.”

Steven Kolb, CFDA president and chief executive officer, echoed the sentiment. “There was a time where only 10, 11 designers would get in here,” he said. “It was very hardcore. But what Diane brought was a modern perspective…and this inclusiveness. And that’s how we’ve grown the organization. But it’s never easy to pick, and we look at it really critically.”

Other, more seasoned CFDA members, including Steven Alan, Nanette Lepore, Tadashi Shoji, Thaddeus O’Neil, Jonathan Simkhai and 2014 CFDA/Vogue winner Paul Andrew were also on hand for the evening.

“The older, bigger designers have the younger ones, and together we are much more powerful,” said von Furstenberg of the CFDA family, before offering some words of advice to the newbies in the room. “The most important thing is to be true to yourself. Yes, there is a business world out there that demands certain things. Everything exists in every color, and at every price. There are a lot of things out there. But what makes a difference is the emotion. The emotion of creativity will never cease to exist…My advice to you is to trust yourself, your talent and your craft. Be the designer you want to be.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the CFDA’s newcomers — who include Ana Khouri, Sally LaPointe, Siki Im, Gigi Burris, Nellie Partow, Tanya Taylor, Brett Heyman of Edie Parker, Floriana Gavriel and Rachel Mansur of Mansur Gavriel, Shayne Oliver of Hood by Air, Raquel Allegra, Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin of Tome, and Lisa Marie Fernandez  — had also attended a new member orientation.

“It felt a little like the first day of school,” said LaPointe. Burris, a milliner, added, “It’s something I’ve always wanted, and it’s this recognition of success.”

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