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NEW YORK — The accessories set enjoyed some Broadway glitter last Monday when the Accessories Council hosted its seventh annual ACE Awards gala at Cipriani on 42nd Street.

This story first appeared in the November 10, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

That’s because this year’s special Accessories Council Excellence Award went to the Women of Broadway for their extensive use of accessories, from the fishnets of “Cabaret” and Bob Fosse’s bowler hats to the ankle socks and white sneakers of “Hairspray.” The award was picked up by a group of Broadway performers that included Eartha Kitt, who currently stars in “Nine,” and Toni Braxton, who has recently taken the lead role in “Aida.”

“It’s always been difficult to find something to accessorize with,” moaned Kitt. “All of you who are accessorizing will have to help. I am in the Eugene O’Neill theater. I expect something within the next week.”

For the occasion, the Council partnered with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and a portion of the event’s proceeds went to the charity.

“It is so important for us to band together and show support for the [accessories] industry,” said Sheila Block, executive director of the Council.

“I did get nominated,” said Gordon Thompson, Cole Haan’s executive vice president and creative director, who came to the event with Saks Fifth Avenue’s market director for accessories and intimates, Sunny Diego. “Your turn will come, so don’t sweat it,” Diego consoled.

“My own personal favorite accessory has got to be my Ralph Lauren weekender bag,” said Ed Burstell, vice president and general manager at Henri Bendel, which picked up the Retailer of the Year award. “The leather just gets better with age…like me.”

That night, Coach took home two trophies: the Hall of Fame award and Designer of the Year, which went to its executive creative director, Reed Krakoff. The Rising Star Award for emerging talent went to hip footwear label Hollywould, and Bottega Veneta was awarded Best Advertising Campaign. The Echo Design Group picked up a Special Recognition award, while the It Accessory of the Year went to Louis Vuitton’s Eye Love Monogram handbag designed by Takashi Murakami.

A wide range of industry executives came out for the gala, including Bergdorf Goodman’s Ron Frasch, Federated Group’s Terry Lundgren, Rhonda Brown of Jones Apparel Group, John Truex of Lambertson Truex, Adrienne Landau, Richard Graziano, Abe Chehebar of Accessory Network and Carlos Falchi.

“My husband does pride himself. He just got me one of the colored Louis Vuitton bags,” quipped Jamie-Lynn DiScala, who plays Meadow on HBO’s “The Sopranos” and was at the event to present the retailer award to Henri Bendel. “He can attest that I am a huge accessories fan.”

Her husband, A.J., countered, “It’s an expensive relationship she has with accessories.”

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