HERE COME THE BRIDESMAIDS: Just in time for wedding season, Cynthia Rowley kicked off her new bridesmaid dress collection at her Bleecker Street store on Thursday night, showing a 16 style lineup and collaborating with nearby bridal boutique Lovely on fitting expertise for various real-life bridesmaids Rowley recruited to test-don some of the looks. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Rowley explained of the new category, which will retail in bridal stores in North America, the United Kingdom and Australia. “We actually use a lot of the same elements from the ready-to-wear, but the feeling of the [bridesmaid] collection is probably a little more strictly pretty.” That means lots of tulle and silk, in cute drop-waist and strapless silhouettes. And for the gal who finds herself playing maid multiple times, the prices are wallet-friendly, retailing between $175 and $220. Turns out that other major bridal category — The Dress — is also on Rowley’s mind. “I’ve done a little bit of what I call friends and family,” Rowley said of her wedding dress experience. “We’ll do something. I wore short to my wedding, so I’d like to do some short dresses. With everything I do, I hope that it is the modern way of thinking about things.”
STAR POWER: Tonight’s 2010 CFDA Fashion Awards will have no shortage of notables. Jessica Biel will present the Womenswear Designer of the Year award, while Dakota Fanning gives the honors in the Accessories Designer of the Year category. Brooke Shields, meanwhile, will be on hand to give Paper Magazine’s Kim Hastreiter her Eugenia Sheppard Award. Other guests will include Rachel Weisz, Daisy Lowe, Emilie de Ravin and Paz de la Huerta, and models Stella Tennant, Liya Kebede, Carmen Kass, Jessica Stam and Dree Hemingway.
Bloggers and Twitter fanatics in the audience don’t have to worry about their connectivity this year. The theater will be WiFi-equipped. And the Council of Fashion Designers of America is doing even more to woo the online crowd. The final posting of Hanuk’s photographs of the “Flat Trova” — a fashionable take on the traveling gnome — went up on the CFDA Facebook fan page on Friday, featuring everyone from Ross Bleckner to Esquire’s Nick Sullivan, Michael Stipe and his boyfriend Thomas Dozol, and Phillip Lim, JD Ferguson and Richard Chai.
RACE DAY: Montblanc was a first-time sponsor of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, which was won by long shot Drosselmeyer. The Richemont-owned brand’s North American president, Jan-Patrick Schmitz, presented a Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Timewriter watch to the horse’s owners in the winner’s circle. Also at the track was Sarah Palin, there to cheer on First Dude, a horse named after her husband, Todd. Palin sported a Jersey Shore-approved outfit: a gaudy trucker hat, cropped cargo pants, scoop-neck T-shirt and blinged-out sunglasses, while Todd wore jeans and a plaid shirt. The duo stood out like sore thumbs at the Belmont Club restaurant, which usually enforces a strict dress code and was filled with VIP guests in their race-day best. Also at the track was actor Vince Vaughn and former Calvin Klein partner Barry Schwartz, once chairman of the New York Racing Association.
GETTING TOGETHER: Some 200 alumni and friends of Bidermann Industries, a one-time powerhouse of the apparel industry, came together Thursday night for a reunion at the Hudson Terrace in Manhattan. Among those sipping cocktails and enjoying Seventies tunes were former chief executive officers Michel Zelnik and Ken Sitomer, as well as Norman Fryman, Paul Raffin, Jay Margolis and Allan Ellinger. “It was like a high school reunion,” said Ellinger, now an investment banker with MMG. The company, which at one time represented such well-known names as Yves St. Laurent, Calvin Klein, Jean-Paul Germain, Bill Robinson, Daniel Hechter, Gold Toe and Arrow, went bankrupt in the mid-Nineties, but many of its executives remained active in the apparel business or related fields.