The ACE Awards marked its 20th anniversary with a ceremony and formal dinner hosted at Cipriani 42nd Street in Manhattan. The flagship event of the Accessories Council saw brands like Ray-Ban and Coach and entities like Kering and Bergdorf Goodman take home awards for their respective work.
The event, which is typically held in November, changed its course this year to August — as its original date fell the evening before Election Day. Nonetheless, it is presently market week in New York, with expo centers such as the Jacob K. Javits Center playing home to football fields’ worth of accessories commerce — where vendors have reported an uptick in orders.
“When times get tough, people get innovative. People had to dig deep and reinvent themselves, and what you see is the result of a lot of hard work — not just trying the same old thing,” Giberson added.
At ACE, the awards presentation ceremony yielded a handful of celebrities: Sarah Jessica Parker, Julianna Margulies and Debra Messing included.
“A purse that holds nothing — the new industry standard,” said Margulies while accepting a minaudière statue for the Style Influencer Award alongside “The Good Wife” costume designer Dan Lawson. Her friend Narciso Rodriguez introduced her.
“I forgot my bracelet and am wearing my napkin ring; you’ll never find that at another awards show,” she added, pointing to her wrist full of Swarovski friendship bracelets that had indeed surrounded napkins.
Her fellow actress Parker won the Brand Visionary award, while other recipients included Stuart Vevers, creative director of Coach, for Designer of the Year; Ray-Ban for Brand of the Year; Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, cofounder of Vera Bradley, for the Humanitarian Award; Marie Claire for Media Award; MCM for Trendsetter, and factors Rosenthal and Rosenthal Inc. for Business Leadership.
Industry attendees, including designers and retailers, were already exhibiting stressful signs of the approaching New York Fashion Week. Issues like delivery schedules presented themselves as more popular conversation topics than the typical August vacation fodder.
“I think it’s one common theme everyone I know is talking about. There’s never been a time in my career — 25 years — that there’s been a more abrupt and radical shift. Things are moving, everything is evolving — no, not product moving, that’s probably one thing that’s not moving. There are a lot of mechanics to the industry that need to shift. That’s why I think for the next couple of years things will kind of shake out. The challenge is exciting,” said recently appointed Tiffany & Co. creative partner Reed Krakoff, at ACE to present Paul Andrew with the Brand Launch award.
Proenza Schouler’s Lazaro Hernandez, there to present Bergdorf Goodman with the Retailer of the Year Award, said: “I think it’s an exciting time for fashion, to be true to yourself and do something better for the world — add something to world, not make something wasteful. We are definitely conscious of that.”
His partner Jack McCollough concurred. “I think people are changing way they shop to that buy-now-wear-now mentality. They want to buy something they love and want to wear it right away.”
Kering’s Head of Americas Laurent Claquin, at ACE to accept the Sustainability Award for the company, feels that the industry will evolve organically — without a sudden shift in its operating procedure. “It’s really up to the brands and the customers. I know a lot of customers already bought fall pieces, including people from Latin America. Things are evolving, it’s a case-by-case,” he said.
Bergdorf Goodman president Joshua Schulman, who accepted Retailer of the Year on the store’s behalf, agreed that there are a variety of shopping mentalities today. “I think there are lots of different models — I think right now is such an exciting time, and it’s allowing customers so much more choice. There are some customers by August 15th, they want their boots and other people aren’t going to think about it until December 1. I think that’s a challenge for the brands and a challenge for us retailers. But it’s pretty exciting for retailers — we have to be everything that our customers are asking for,” he said.
The night continued downtown at the Edition hotel, where tote bag-carting partygoers took over the lobby as confused hotel guests fumbled past in search of their rooms. Andrew’s entrance was met with reverence, causing a couch of tequila-sipping loungers to rise and greet the Brand Launch winner. Gigi Burris chatted up Messing, who came as Jennifer Fisher’s date for the night.
“Come hell or high water that woman has been there for me,” Fisher said of the actress. “She was the first celebrity to text me saying she wanted to wear my jewelry. I was a mother, barefoot and pregnant, and I was like ‘great.’ So that’s why she was my date tonight.”
Fisher was reveling in being given the Influencer award. “It honestly means that I’ve been myself this entire process and I’ve finally been validated,” the jeweler said. “A lot of times you feel like you have to be something you’re not, and I decided a long time ago that I wasn’t going to be that person. And if they accept me they do, if they don’t they don’t, and thank god they did.”