INNOVATORS’ GOT STAR POWER: On a busy Wednesday night filled with VIP events, it seemed somewhat unlikely that WSJ, The Wall Street Journal’s fashion magazine, would draw some of the biggest stars in the city for its Innovators Awards. But there they were, Madonna, Eminem, Dr. Dre all in the same room, not to mention actress Jennifer Connelly, who presented Nicolas Ghesquière with an award, while Rupert Murdoch looked on with the likes of Derek Lam, Peter Copping, Phillip Lim, Fabien Baron, Francisco Costa, Karlie Kloss and Joan Smalls.
This story first appeared in the November 7, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Even Madonna, who presented dancer and protégé Lil Buck with an award, remarked at the interesting mix. “This is really weird. Only for you [Lil Buck],” said the megastar, who delivered a charming, yet quirky speech. “The light is strange here because I can’t see my speech. I’ll just stand here and you can guess what I’m thinking. ‘I wish I had more Champagne. I wish the podium was shorter. I wish I had eaten dinner and I don’t have that shaky feeling I have right now.’ OK, comedy over.”
But the comedy was just beginning. Equating Lil Buck to her “little brother,” she then instructed the audience when to applaud.
“I’ll show you when there are applause moments. I can see you need help. This is a museum audience,” she deadpanned. “Applause moment.”
Her antics continued, as she talked to Lil Buck and audience members. “How did I meet you at a Smirnoff contest? That’s pretty weird. I think you should put your phone down, sir,” she said, then continued her monologue about how she discovered Buck.
“Everyone knows I have an affinity for dancers — that’s not an applause moment,” she laughed, before the dancer came to the stage, wowing the crowd with a heartfelt acceptance speech and a dance performance that drew a standing ovation.
Another surprising moment came when Eminem presented Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine an award for Entrepreneurship for Beats Electronics. The rapper, who rarely makes speeches, was not on the program as a presenter. When he was called to the stage, after a lengthy pause, the room erupted in applause. “Believe it or not, this actually really makes me freaking nervous,” he said, paraphrasing his own song “Lose yourself.” “My palms are sweaty, my knees are weak, and that whole thing. Anyways though, the truth is, and I’ve said this many times, if it was not for these two guys, I would not be here.”
“I never really set out to be an innovator, as a matter of fact, I never considered myself an innovator,” Dre said. “The bottom line for me is that I get a chance to create a great living, make a great living doing what I love to do, and what’s better than that? My life is amazing.”