FAMILY NIGHT

Byline: Eric Wilson

NEW YORK — It’s not uncommon for families to squabble every now and then, so there was bound to be a few generational rifts when the Fashion Group International brought together 10 of fashion and entertainment’s most prominent dynasties for its annual Night of Stars last week.
Nathalie Rykiel had to grab the microphone away from her mother as she attempted to tell a story about how common it is for people to ask her, “How do I cope with a mother like Sonia Rykiel?”
“It’s my turn!” Nathalie teased, when her mother attempted to answer the question. Lulu Johnson similarly had to wrest the podium from her mother, Betsey.
But there’s also a level of comfort among families that allows for a little lively banter and frankness. In the audience, Denise Rich told a story to Tommy Hilfiger and his family about how she had recently purchased gas masks for her daughters. Simon Doonan from Barneys New York was examining the evening’s decor, which included a group of actors who sat in a mock portrait, sort of a tableau vivant. “Looks more like a tableau mort to me,” Doonan said.
Hilfiger got on stage to present Quincy Jones with an award, discussing how he had met the music mogul through Jones’s daughter, Kidada, who once modeled in his campaigns.
“I remember sitting in his home in Beverly Hills and he fell asleep while he was talking to me,” Hilfiger said. “That’s how comfortable he is with me.”
The evening also included a “superstar” award to the Lauder family presented by Bette Midler, plus awards to Oscar de la Renta and Eliza Reed Bolen, the Nordstrom family, Sir Terence Conran and Sebastian Conran, the Swarovskis and the Etros.
As far as fashion, there were several contenders to dress the crowd. Lady Vicky Conran wore a black-and-white Alexandre Matthieu dress. “They’re not about just boring old frocks,” she said of the designers, Alexandre Morgado and Matthieu Bureau. Nadja Swarovski picked a beaded midnight Vera Wang gown, which she bought at Bergdorf Goodman.
“When in doubt, it’s Vera Wang, I always say,” Swarovski said. “It’s funny that I work in the fashion industry and I still always wait until the last minute to figure out what I’m going to wear.”
But de la Renta captured the big stars, dressing Carolyn Murphy, Aerin Lauder and Gwyneth Paltrow, who wore a champagne beaded silk tulle camisole and skirt and was honored with her father, Bruce.
“I’m very fortunate to live in a family of thin, tall women who happen to look very good in clothes,” said the father.
But after dinner, Gwyneth confided it’s not as easy as it looks, particularly since she has gained a few pounds since Sept. 11. De la Renta sent over a rack of beautiful gowns, she said, “but I couldn’t fit into four out of five. This is the only one I could zip up!”