A NIGHT TO FORGET: Some called it “tacky,” others said it was like a “first-grade production.” Still others called it “a total embarrassment.” Those were some of the criticisms of the first annual Marie Claire Fashion and Beauty Awards, which took place Tuesday night.
Sources said the award ceremony was fraught with production problems — namely, videos that were neither funny nor cued properly; a faulty teleprompter; poor sound quality, and a room that was way too small for the star studded crowd.
At one point, Geena Davis, the event’s host, introduced Veronica Webb, who was to present an award, but Webb hadn’t shown up yet. In a video segment spoofing CK One, a bunch of young Marie Claire staffers were lined up with their shirts torn when one, in a mock Kate Moss accent, began reciting, ad nauseum, “I like it here…I like it here…I like it here,” while touching different parts of her anatomy. “Enough already!” staffers shouted. Calvin Klein, seated in the audience, visibly tightened during the segment.
Ralph Lauren got the treatment too, although he was a no-show. In the Marie Claire video awarding him best men’s fragrance, one model appears before a camera bellowing, “Marco,” while another came forward yelling, “Polo.”
But what made the evening even more of a fiasco was the “A” list turn-out that suffered through it. Donna Karan, Tom Ford, Dawn Mello, Leonard Lauder, Cindy Crawford, Ron Perelman, Andie Mcdowell, Gwyneth Paltrow, Amber Valletta, Naomi Campbell, Tyson Beckford, Celine Dion and Leonard Lauder were among the guests.
Sources said editor in chief Glenda Bailey applied a tremendous amount of pressure to have the designers show up at the awards, although it seemed to be essentially an advertising vehicle.
One PR person, who dragged her designer to the event, remarked, “I’m getting fired on this one.”
Fashion and beauty winners, voted on by the magazine’s readers, included Klein, Karan, Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Prada and Versace, as well as Chanel, Estee Lauder, Lancome, L’Oreal, Neutrogena and Revlon.
As Klein took the podium to receive the final award from Paltrow, he gazed at all the Marie Claire covers with their tantalizing coverlines that talk about the quest for sex, and said: “I suggest that since we’re the last award, maybe we all get some tonight.”
But Bailey wasn’t deterred by the criticism. She told WWD, “Let anybody who has never made a mistake cast the first stone. I believe in producing original and exciting ideas. You’ll never please all the people all the time. It was so exciting to have the responses we’ve had. Everyone has been so positive and so complimentary.”
The event did have a bright note: It raised $20,000 for AmFAR.
IN-HOUSE: Things are getting awfully cozy at Conde Nast House & Garden. Editorial director James Truman’s house in the Hamptons was photographed last week for an upcoming issue. The home was decorated by Paul Fortune, who happens to be HG’s West Coast editor.
“I don’t feel there’s a conflict of interest,” said Dominique Browning, editor in chief of House & Garden. “There’s an age-old tradition at Conde Nast,” she said, whereby editors homes have frequently been featured in the magazine. “In Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart’s house is used every month,” said Browning.
Incidentally, two years ago, the home of Architectural Digest editor in chief Paige Rense was featured anonymously in AD.
FILLING CANDY’S SHOES: Lauren Martinez du Pont has been named accessories director at Vogue. She succeeds Candy Pratts Price, who, as reported, has joined Polo/Ralph Lauren as vice president and creative director. Du Pont had been senior market editor covering the American Collections. Vogue is seeking a successor.
In related news, Wendy Hirschberg has been named fashion market director. She had been senior market editor. She will continue to cover all of the European Collections and oversee the markets department.
Elsewhere at Vogue, Sally Wadyka, who most recently was a freelancer, has rejoined Vogue as senior editor, succeeding Rachel Urquhart, who became a writer at Allure.