NEW YORK — The Council of Fashion Designers of America is in a New York state of mind.
Given the selection of New York-centric designer Donna Karan for a lifetime achievement award and the flattering attention garnered by a new generation of designers who have broken onto the city’s fashion scene in recent years, the CFDA felt it was befitting to use Manhattan as the conceptual point for its annual awards night on June 7 at the New York Public Library.
The decor of the event is envisioned as reflecting the city at twilight, with shades of blue and green on glass, crystal, mirrors and lighting in the dining area, and the cocktail reception bathed in lights reflected from curtains embroidered with thousands of peridot-colored crystal balls, in a nod to the event’s underwriter, Swarovski. The CFDA has enlisted Eric Ripert, chef of one of the city’s luxury restaurants, Le Bernardin, to create a menu for the night with caterer Hank Tomashevski for the $2,000-a-plate dinner. The organization also asked designers to offer quotations on their impressions of New York, which will be featured in a journal being produced by creative director Doug Lloyd of Lloyd & Co.
“One of the things that we have always heard from members of the CFDA is that they want the awards to be relevant,” said Ed Filipowski, a president of KCD, which is producing the event for the second consecutive year. “We felt that was an important note to hit — to celebrate the things that are great and diverse and brilliant about New York.”
Peter Arnold, executive director of the CFDA, added, “We have all come to appreciate the scope, the brilliance and the diversity of the community of designers working in New York, and in all parts of America.”
This year, following cocktails in Astor Hall and preceding the supper-club-style awards presentation in the NYPL’s Celeste Bartos Forum, dinner will be served in the Gottesman Exhibition Hall on the first floor. The event is expected to raise in excess of $1 million for the CFDA.
This is the first time a dinner is being staged in the Gottesman room, which is directly behind the Astor Hall at the library’s main Fifth Avenue entrance.
“The room is symmetrical, with beautifully carved arches and ceiling, all of which gives you a feeling of intimacy,” said Julie Mannion, another KCD president, noting that elements of the decor include blue linen tablecloths, illuminated vitrines and, in the center of the room, a glass-and-crystal sculpture made for the event by artist Harry Alan that is meant to evoke the city’s skyline.
Video presentations being directed by Jun Diaz and Douglas Keeve will include references to New York, and Lloyd’s journal features a similar color theme to the library, each purple page printed with images from the nominees’ runway shows spliced into a film strip and quotes about their New York inspiration. Women’s wear designer of the year nominee Marc Jacobs, who is hosting the awards with Narciso Rodriguez and Karan, for example, said, “What is most inspiring about New York is its variety —?many voices, ideas, energy and stimulation. New York is a good meeting place for people who like to move a lot.”