PHILADELPHIA — Neither heavy rains nor wicked winds kept Philadelphia fashion followers away Thursday evening as they came out to fete designer James Galanos.
Galanos, a city native, was inducted into the Philadelphia Fashion Hall of Fame by the Philadelphia Fashion Council, presented by the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University and sponsored by Tiffany & Co. and Neiman Marcus. The celebration also served as a benefit for Drexel’s design programs and the Historic Costume Collection.
Galanos is the first inductee of what will be a biennial award. Cocktails at Tiffany on Walnut Street kicked off the evening, followed by dinner at the historic Union League. Overlooking the room was a stage filled with 25 Galanos-dressed mannequins, examples of 40 years of the designer’s work, from 1950 through the Nineties.
The award is bestowed on a designer who has made a deep impact on the fashion industry. Caroline and Sidney Kimmel, chairman of Jones Apparel Group, were benefit chairmen. The dean of the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, Allen Sabinson, presented Galanos with the award, calling him “a true fashion icon” and “an inspiration to anyone who is moved by fashion, by beauty and by elegance.”
The room was filled with Galanos fans, many wearing his gowns. Guests included Ralph Rucci, Sandra Blumberg, Barbara Brown, Judith Palestini, Melba Pearlstein, Rita Rome, Claire Rose and Gerry Sills, with Renée Weiss Chase, Kathi Martin, Lisa Hayes and David Toll of Drexel University.
Although he officially retired from the fashion industry in the late Nineties, Galanos embarked on a new chapter of design and creativity, producing a new collection through a camera lens.
“I had accomplished what I wanted to in fashion and started to do photography. It’s a different point of view,” he said. Galanos recently had an exhibition of his photographs at the Serge Sorokko Gallery in San Francisco.