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NEW YORK — Being a rising star can be a double-edged sword — at least according to Norma Kamali, who was a keynote speaker at Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Awards Thursday.
“A rising star award is a good thing, and it may even be a bad thing,” she said. “What happens if you don’t become a star? Is that going to be the end of it for you? I never wanted to be a star and never really was or am a star. I am just my own little constellation up in the sky, doing my own thing.
This story first appeared in the January 28, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“For those of you who die to be a star, you probably will for a certain amount of time, but how long that will be?” she added. “Stardom has its highs and lows, and it could be a curse to a lot of people.”
Before venturing too deep into Jacqueline Susann territory, however, Kamali had a few pointers for the fresh talent on hand. “Longevity has its ups and downs, and its periods and times that are very frightening,” she said. “I am very grateful for all the times I have fallen, because I had to get up and reinvent myself to be not just me again but the new me. I love every experience and every frightening experience I have had, and am enjoying every invention and reinvention.”
Men’s apparel winner Loris Diran learned two crucial lessons while working for Kamali early in his career. “Trust your instincts, and the most important thing in this industry is to be a survivor,” Diran said.
The women’s apparel award was a tie between Fabiola Arias and Bradley Scott, who shared some of his early career lessons. “You have to be true to yourself and to others,” Scott told the audience, which included Lauren Bush, Prabal Gurung, Catherine Malandrino, Ippolita, Linda Fargo, Kim Vernon, Maria Cornejo, Eddie Borgo and Julie Macklowe.
Jennifer Fleiss and Jennifer Hyman of Rent the Runway took home the retail award. The accessories trophy went to Marc Marmel, and fine jewelry to Betty Lou Moscot of Blu Betty Lou Moscot. In the beauty category, Siddharth Shah of Givaudan Fragrances Corp. was named winner of the fragrance corporate award, while Harold Zimmerman of Votre Vu was the emerging fragrance entrepreneur. Koray Duman and Laith Sayigh of Sayigh + Duman won for home/interior design.
The event was moderated by Jamie Pallot, Condé Nast Digital’s editorial director.