OUT OF THE INCUBATOR: The penthouse at the Mondrian Hotel in New York’s SoHo neighborhood had a baccalaureate feel to it Wednesday night as the Council of Fashion Designers of America hosted a send-off for its inaugural Fashion Incubator class. “It’s not the end; it’s just the beginning of the next chapter,” said CFDA associate executive director Lisa Smilor. “Mark my words, we look forward to continuing to watch you, support you and applaud all the success we know you’re going to have. Congratulations.”

Designers including Prabal Gurung, Bibhu Mohapatra and Waris Ahluwalia were among the incubatees in attendance. After two years working out of tax subsidized studio space at 209 West 38th Street, the designers are on their own. Gurung said that he, along with several of his peers, had taken a temporary space on a different floor in the same building while his permanent showroom and studio is built out on 37th Street. “It’s not like we hung out everyday, but it was like a family,” said Gurung. “They even gave us a yearbook.”

This story first appeared in the April 27, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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