Fashion Group International’s upcoming Night of Stars will celebrate several American-born designers and personalities who have built their businesses from the ground up to attain a global reach.
Topping that list as the Superstar winner is Rick Owens, a continually directional force that calls the shots from Paris. Before the Oct. 24 black-tie dinner at Cipriani Wall Street, guests and non-ticketholders will be able to brush up on Owens’ work. Rizzoli plans to release “Rick Owens: Photographed by Danielle Levitt” next month. This is his second big win of the year, having taken home the men’s wear designer of the year award at the CFDA Fashion Awards in June.
Like many creatives in the fashion industry, Owens’ designs and shows are infused with a global view. He hosted an Aztec purification ceremony before his most recent men’s wear show and invited musicians from Mexico to accompany the show’s Lavascar soundtrack with Danza Azteca ceremonial music, which has been passed down from one generation to the next. Owens’ Mexican mother and grandmother, and President Trump’s fixation with building a wall south of the U.S. border were factors that he considered in developing the spring collection.
Being named Fashion Legend has made Ralph Rucci consider his roots. “This is probably one of the biggest honors of my life ever since I came out after that first couture show in 1981 and realized that my life had changed. In a way, this validates all the years that I struggled and kept my head down in trying to create my own vocabulary in the profession. So I am so proud, honored and most importantly humbled, because you can only progress through that humility your work gives you.”
Last month Rucci returned to the couture circuit in Paris — 17 years after he became the first American designer since Mainbocher to show a couture collection. His first runway effort in 1981 was held at the now long-gone Westbury Hotel at 69th Street and Madison Avenue. “It was miraculous because I had no money. Vivian [Van Natta] was helping me with everything. We were working out of a studio apartment. There was a great modeling agency in New York called Zolie. The man who owned it, Zolie, came over to see the clothes and said, ‘You can have all the girls for free.’ That’s how I did my first show. We didn’t have money for a trucking service so we wheeled the racks to the hotel from studio apartment on East 71st Street.”
The 2019 Fashion Star award will go to Brandon Maxwell, another self-made designer whose high-profile clients like Lady Gaga have helped him gain exposure. Having worked on the ground in Haiti to help uplift indigenous communities since 2010 through her Urban Zen Foundation, Donna Karan will be singled out with the Humanitarian Award. The Beauty prize will be bestowed upon Gucci Westman; Sustainability honors will go to International Flavors and Fragrances; the Brand Heritage winner is Jonathan Adler; the Interior Design honoree is Delphine Krakoff, and the Trailblazer Award will be given to Iman.
This fall’s red-carpet affair will be the first overseen by FGI’s newly minted president and chief executive officer Maryanne Grisz, as well as chairman of its board James D’Adamo. Grisz said, “We are delighted to honor these artists, who like master musicians, compose truly unique visions derived from global inspiration.”
The event’s unstoppable host Simon Doonan will have the mic to keep the program on track — and help his husband Adler celebrate. Another intrepid contributor, Ruben Toledo will create the art for the gala’s invitation and commemorative journal. Elle’s editor-in-chief Nina Garcia and Fashion Syndicate’s editor in chief Marylou Luther will cochair the festivities.