Byline: Koji Hirano

TOKYO — Tom Ford received the Designer of the Year Award from the Fashion Editors Club in Japan, the first non-Japanese designer to win this prize.
“It’s truly a great honor to receive this award,” said Ford. “There are few countries equal to Japan in terms of innovation, design, art, architecture. Receiving this here means so much to me.”
Ford also presented the Yves Saint Laurent spring collection, the first time since he took the creative helm in January 2000 that the line was formally presented outside France.
About 400 people came to celebrate as Ford took home a custom-made pyramid trophy by Baccarat.
FEC was established in 1952 and commends people for their contributions to developing the nation’s fashion as a culture. It counts about 100 members from Japanese fashion journalism. Past winners include Hanae Mori, Kenzo Takada, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo.
“Tom showed what fashion was able to do when the world was surrounded with sorrow and uneasiness,” said Katsuto Tai, a representative of the club. “Going into the 21st century, we widened our choice to overseas designers. For fashion, there are no borders. After Sept. 11, Tom healed and encouraged people around the world through his fashion show.”
“His creative work for Gucci was full of romance, which offered peace of mind to everyone at the show,” added Kazuyuki Yamamuro, a member of FEC. “And at the Yves Saint Laurent show, he showed the primitive strength of human beings — under the theme of African ethnic.”
Other award winners included Junko Ouchi, a fashion journalist who received the Award for Meritorious Service; Model of the Year Ai Tominaga; and UNIQLO, a casual brand that runs 543 shops in Japan and four in U.K., which was honored with the group’s Special Award.

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