Host, Simon Doonan, creative director, Barney’s, New York, affirmed the star power of the evening noting, “Tonight’s honorees are in the white hot spotlight and I have created mantras for all of them to help keep their chakras in line.” Based on Jersey Shore nomenclature, Doonan assigned names for the honorees, from Frédéric Fekkai, “The Operation,” to Legend Award winner, Pierre Cardin, “The Impact,” adding levity to a momentous occasion.
Among the honorees of the evening were Nicolas Ghesquière, who received the Superstar Award from Jennifer Connelly; Diego Della Valle, who was presented with the Brand Visonary Award, from actor, Richard Gere; Evelyn Lauder, who was honored with the Humanitarian Award, presented by Mayor Michael Bloomberg; and Pierre Cardin, who received the Board of Directors Legend Award from fashion icon, Marisa Berenson.
Marisa Berenson and Pierre Cardin
Walking the Red Carpet in the cathedral-like venue, were Tory Burch, designer, Frédéric Fekkai, winner of Beauty Award honors, Calvin Klein, actors Richard Gere and Carey Lowell, Michael Kors, designer, Anna Wintour, Vogue, Albert Kriemler, Fashion Award honoree for AKRIS, Kate Bosworth, actress, and Jack McCullough and Lazaro Hernandez, Fashion Award honorees, for Proenza Schouler.
Superstar Award: Nicolas Ghesquière, Presenter: Jennifer Connelly
The Star Honorees and Presenters:
Fashion: Albert Kriemler for AKRIS, Presenter: Stefano Tonchi
Jack McCullough & Lazaro Hernandez for Proenza Schouler, Presenters: Anna Wintour and Bee Shaffer
Brand Visionary: Diego Della Valle, Presenter: Richard Gere
Frédéric Fekkai and Calvin Klein
Beauty: Frederic Fekkai, Presenter: Calvin Klein
Entertainment: Janie Bryant, Costume Designer for Mad Men, Presenter: Simon Kneen
Architecture: Rafael and Diana Viñoly, Presenters: Calvin Tsao & China Machado
Corporate Leadership Award: Glen Senk for Urban Outfitters; Presenter: Anna Sui
Humanitarian Award: Evelyn Lauder, Presenter: Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Board of Directors Legend Award: Pierre Cardin, Presenter: Marisa Berenson
The Lord & Taylor Fashion Oracle Award: Nina Garcia, Presenter: Michael Kors.
Evelyn Lauder and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
In a particularly moving tribute to Evelyn Lauder, Mayor Bloomberg cited Mrs. Lauder’s tireless efforts to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Research Fund, noting that in addition to raising public awareness of breast cancer today, the Breast Cancer Research Fund has raised more than $300 million to date.
A beauty icon and humanitarian leader, Mrs. Lauder, who is senior corporate vice president and head of fragrance development worldwide for The Estée Lauder Companies, described a journey that took her from early fundraising efforts in 1989 for the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Cancer Center in New York City, to the newly-constructed and expanded second Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center in 2009. She is also the chairman of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which she founded in 1993 and has become the largest national organization dedicated to funding research relating to the causes, treatment and prevention of breast cancer.
Lauder said, “Our company has given away 110 million pink ribbons, in 70 countries, in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars raised, and more than 172 researchers around the world.”
She thanked Margaret Hayes and The Fashion Group for the honor, and acknowledged FGI, where she has been on the board for twenty years, as an organization that nurtures young designers around the world.
Designer, Calvin Klein, presented the Beauty Award of the evening to Frédéric Fekkai, acknowledging his talent and charisma. Klein, who cited Fekkai’s vision for business, his empire of beauty, and his stellar clientele, including Penelope Cruz and Scarlet Johansen, credited Fekkai with a special artistry. “He takes hair and applies the balance and geometry of an artist,” he said, alluding to Fekkai’s ability to magically transform women’s hair. He quoted Fekkai, who said, “When I run my hands through a woman’s hair, I feel who she can be.”
Fekkai, who was born in Aix-en-Provence, France, rose through the ranks by training with a roster of notable Parisian hairdressers. He became a master of customization, focusing on the individual, and determining a style that would maximize a woman’s attributes and enhance the total look. His cuts caught the attention of Bergdorf Goodman, where he was invited to design a salon, which echoed the sophistication of the celebrated department store. His hair salon business continued to expand, with a 10,000 square foot flagship salon on Fifth Avenue. In 2008, Frédéric Fekkai Inc. was acquired by Procter & Gamble, with the aligned vision of propelling the Fekkai brand to the next level. Fekkai, who now serves as brand architect, playing a strategic and designer role, works closely with P&G teams to innovate new products and leverage the brand’s equity. He said he was honored and emotional to be receiving the honor, and thanked his P&G colleagues for bringing the brand to the next level, and for the recognition from FGI.
Richard Gere, who presented the Brand Visionary honors to Diego Della Valle, admitted he knew nothing about fashion himself, with the exception of black T-shirts and white underwear (a nod to Calvin Klein), but had loved Diego Della Valle’s shoes.
“Diego Della Valle is the sweetest man and I loved his shoes,” said Gere, who received a pair of brown suede Diego Della Valle shoes ten years ago, and displayed his new pair of black suede ones for the audience to see. “He is a super talent, but I know him as a wonderful man who is so kind to his children and his grandchildren,” said Gere.
Richard Gere, Carey Lowell, and Diego Della Valle
Della Valle, who arrived in New York from Italy more than 30 years ago, where early on he had joined his father in the shoe-making business, acknowledged the support he has received in America, where he has developed and expanded the family business, and since 2000 has been President and CEO of Tod’s SpA, a world leader luxury goods.
Nicolas Ghesquière, who accepted the Superstar Award from Jennifer Connelly, was self-effacing noting that he felt “privileged to receive the honor and committed to keeping the dream of Cristobal Balenciaga alive.” He recently unlocked the archive of Cristobal Balenciaga’s work and is determined to continue to deliver a continuing vision for Balenciaga. The first fragrance, Balenciaga Paris, launched in 2010 under Ghesquière’s creative direction.
In a fitting denouement, Marisa Berenson presented the Board of Directors Legend Award to Pierre Cardin, the visionary dressmaker who has held sway for the past 60 years, and defined new criteria for elegance and comfort.
“I have known Pierre since I was 17 years old and witnessed and lived through many of his successes. He believes that taste is not enough. You have to be touched by grace and have style. He is the democrat of style, from his clothes to his perfume, and has created a constant flow of inventions. He has traveled the world and spoken to every culture and he feels richer in his encounters than in his fortune.”
Cardin, whom Berenson credited with wisdom and uncanny precision, gave his brief and eloquent acceptance speech entirely in French.
More info: www.fgi.org.