LOS ANGELES — Host Melissa Rivers played nice at the premiere event for the Los Angeles Fashion Awards at the Orpheum Theatre here, despite her reputation for skewering celebrities’ red-carpet fashion choices.

“I’m so thrilled that you work so hard to make the rest of us look so good,” Rivers told the more than 1,000 guests.

For the Moss Adams Fashion Innovator Award, or MAFI as it’s known, Petro Zillia’s Nony Tochterman prevailed over Louis Verdad and Trovata. Tochterman’s advice to the audience: “It’s only fashion. Keep it in perspective.”

Artist Caleb Siemon created the block of clear and colored glass presented as the trophy. The ceremony last Friday was the brainchild of industry veterans Jennifer Uner and Mary Hill.

“This was a tremendous first effort,” said Fred Hayman, the legendary retailer behind Giorgio Beverly Hills.

Wearing a cream pantsuit by Giorgio Armani to stand out in the sea of little black dresses, Rosemary Brantley, founding chair of fashion design at Otis College of Art + Design, received the Inspiration Award from Bob Mackie.

Richard Woolcott, chief executive officer of action sports company Volcom Inc., swapped boardshorts for a dark suit to pick up the California IPO of the Year Award from the Nasdaq Stock Market.

American Apparel edged out BCBG Max Azria, Guess, Paul Frank Industries and Roxy-Quiksilver for the Marketing Excellence Award. Ron Herman won the Fashion Retailer Award over Decades-Decades Two, Kitson and Satine.

“It’s still fun to go to work when you have a disco ball over your head,” said John Eshaya, vice president of women’s wear at Ron Herman.

Trina Turk was honored for Fashion Achievement.

This story first appeared in the October 26, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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