NEW YORK — Fur designer Adrienne Landau has a word to the wise: The accessories industry can be fickle.
“Everybody wants white and then they want black,” she said at Fashion Institute of Technology’s Next Generation Design Awards last Thursday. “They want scarves, then they don’t want scarves.”
Considering she was speaking to the graduating class of FIT’s accessories and jewelry design programs, it’s doubtful her words fell on deaf ears.
Landau, along with handbag designers Carlos Falchi and Rafé Totengco, had gathered for the awards ceremony, co-hosted by the Accessories Council and the Elle Group. Five $1,000 cash prizes were given, and the awards were underwritten by the Elle Group; Accessories Design Holdings; Steve Madden Ltd.; New Campaign (a division of Kellwood Co., which holds the Polo Ralph Lauren license for belts and small leather goods), and jewelry company Miriam Haskell. Michael Cangemi, chief executive officer of Etienne Aigner, was on hand to present the Etienne Aigner FIT Scholarship.
Amy Cai won for handbag design; Joyce Lee, for footwear; Samantha Beckerman, for belts, and Min Lee, for jewelry. Amanda Timian received the Etienne Aigner FIT Scholarship. And, as a result of his winning the Elle Group Innovator Award, Anthony Cady will see his work sprinkled throughout fall issues of Elle Girl magazine.
Landau is an FIT alumna, and having arrived straight from a successful trunk show at Saks Fifth Avenue, she was a fitting beacon of hope to the graduates.
Totengco suggested the students surround themselves with good business people when out in the real world. It’s also important, he said, to keep a sense of humor and passion. “It’s not brain surgery,” he quipped, “it’s just fashion.”
Clearly, Carlos Falchi had confidence in the young talent he saw in the crowd. “Call me,” he told the graduates.
— Emily Holt