Thursday, September 5, 2013

In the News

Enjoying the last sense of summer in Central Park. 4:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Thursday, September 5, 2013. It was a beautiful, late Summer day, yesterday in New York, and if traffic is any indication, the summer people are back in town. The place was bustling.

Museums were in the news. Lewis Kruger, Chairman of the Board of the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), announced yesterday that Dr. Glenn Adamson has been appointed as the museum's new Nanette L. Laitman Director. Adamson, who comes to MAD from the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London, succeeds Holly Hotchner, who stepped down at the end of April. The new Director will assume his role officially October 15th.

Mr. Adamson is among the most prominent and respected voices in the field of applied arts and design. At present he’s been leading the V&A's Research Department, a unique cross-disciplinary department that oversees, assesses, and supports the development of museum projects. He helped initiate and shape major exhibitions, managed partnerships with museums and universities, and led academic fundraising. He was also a contributor to the V&A's publications, educational programming, media relations, and commercial activities.
Dr. Glenn Adamson, Museum of Arts and Design's new Nanette L. Laitman Director.
Mr. Adamson has published several books including The Invention of Craft (V&A, Bloomsbury, 2013), The Craft Reader (Berg, 2010), Thinking Through Craft (V&A, Berg, 2007), and is a founding co-editor of the Journal of Modern Craft, a peer-reviewed academic journal.

The Museum of Arts and Design, which occupies the Edward Durrell Stone building on Columbus Circle is one of the most interesting and visionary museums in the city. One’s interest cannot be determined until it is seen. Some of the crafts/objects that have been featured in its exhibitions, besides fascinating both adults and children on many levels, have become important mainstream objects of collection.

Yesterday was also the official unofficial opening of the autumn social season in New York with a benefit luncheon for another museum-related project. It was the Couture Council of the Museum at FIT’s 8th annual benefit luncheon on the Promenade of the David Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. 
Arriving at the Promenade of the David Koch Theater for the 8th annual Couture Council luncheon that now traditionally opens Fashion Week in New York.
The luncheon now officially and unofficially opens Fashion Week which is centered right next door in the big Mercedes Benz venue set up in Lincoln Center between the Koch Theater and the Metropolitan Opera House.

The Couture Council, formed in 2004, is the brainchild of the museum’s director Dr. Valerie Steele to develop support for the museum. Shortly thereafter Liz Peek, then a museum board member had the idea of staging an awards luncheon to raise funds for the museum’s work.
Diana Taylor and Valerie Steele. Liz Peek and Fe Fendi.
The first luncheon was held in 2006 at the Brasserie 8 1/2 , the popular restaurant on the subterranean level of  9 West 57th Street, just off Fifth Avenue. It was a small affair, comparatively, but it was a hit.

The following year someone had the bright idea of moving it over to Lincoln Center. A couple hundred guests were invited, and a tradition was established.

An Award for Artistry of Fashion was created to be bestowed annually. In the ensuing years the award has been presented to Karl Lagerfeld, Oscar de la Renta, Albert Elbaz, Valentino, this year to Michael Kors.
The video press on the first balcony, taking it all in.
With the event’s success, the Couture Council, now with a membership of more than 100 women, is dedicated to supporting the Museum which is a highly specialized museum of fashion -- and destined to become the greatest in the world. In the last half dozen years it has gained greater prominence and become a very effective fundraiser for the museum.

The Council helps make it possible for the museum to mount world class exhibitions of fashion, to acquire important objects for its permanent collection, and to organize public programs, such as the annual fashion symposium.
Aerin Lauder and Michael Kors.
Michael Kors busses Patti Hansen.
Iman, Kors, and Patti Hansen posing for the photos ...
The luncheon itself brings out the largest crowd of fashionable women and tastemakers in the city with a synergy that enhances Fashion Week. It has also helped build the Council’s board, attracting a membership of women who organize private tours and gatherings with leading designers, providing opportunity for a behind-the-scene look at New York fashion.

The luncheon begins with a reception at 11:30, with guests sitting for lunch officially at noon (it’s more like 12:45 whatwith the hundreds of guests, corps of photographers, milling about).
Yaz Hernandez, Marjorie Reed Gordon, and Sharon Handler.
Simon Doonan, Yaz Hernandez, Sharon Handler, and Marjorie Reed Gordon.
This year’s luncheon Chairs were Kamie Lightburn  and Jieun Wax. Among the guests attending were: Lauren duPont, Linda Fargo, Vanessa Getty, Patti Hansen, Iman, Karolína Kurková, Aerin Lauder, Sandra Lee, Crystal Lourd, Alexandra Richards, Theodora Richards, Renee Rockefeller, Jamie Tisch, Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis, Elettra Wiedemann, and Anna Wintour.

After opening remarks by co-chairs Lightburn and Wax welcoming guests, Dr. Valerie Steele took the podium, telling guests, “Everytime you see one of Michael’s advertisements, you just want to BE that woman – so chic, so glamoroius, jet-setting around the world in her sunglasses, and in the company of a handsome, glamorous man. So thank you Michael, for all you do for the women of the world.

Dr. Joyce Brown, president of FIT then announced the 2013 Michael Kors Scholarship winner, third-semester student Kim Nguyen,  and thanked Kors for his support of FIT. The scholarship includes time studying in Europe, which as Dr. Brown pointed out, Michael Kors believes is immeasurably important  to the development of a successful fashion designer. Then Liz Peek introduced Hilary Swank, who presented the Artistry Award to Michael Kors.
Hilary Swank.
Kamie Lightburn and Jieun Wax, this year's luncheon chairs.
Mr. Kors, who is enthusiastically forthright and frank about himself, reminisced briefly about his time as a student at FIT, including what he thought of fashion design before he entered, and what he learned (to the contrary). He amusingly described the variety of clothes/costumes he wore as a design student, poking  fun at some of his outlandishness get-ups, and pointing out that all good things can come out of that for a designer’s development.

He was grateful to be feted and to receive the award. The hundreds of women in the audence returned his gratitude by wearing his designs to the luncheon. So in all of the pictures we’re running, you’re seeing mainly the work of Michael Kors.
Michael Kors with Dr. Joyce Brown, president of FIT.
Hilary Swank and Michael Kors.
Hilary Swank, Kim Nguyen, Michael Kors, and Anna Wintour.
After the presentation was concluded and the photographers had their moment to catch Kors with his award and his admirers (such as Hilary Swank), Yaz Hernandez, the current Chairman of the Couture Council, also in a Michael Kors and also wearing (like Kors) dark glasses, toasted the guests and held the drawing for the raffle (a ticket was in every placement envelope) – Asprey’s Life Ring of yellow and white gold rope. Then Ms. Hernandez thanked the guests for their attending and their support.

The luncheon’s menu began with a chilled sweet pea tarragon soup, topped with crispy shallots, buttery croutons, and radish slivers. Main course was a Cobb salad with organic chicken, applewood smoked bacon, and Great Hill blue cheese. The  dessert: vanilla, raspberry and chocolate ice cream sundaes and special FIT Couture Council cupcakes were served. Yes. Why not!
Stefano Tonchi, Yaz Hernandez, and Valentín Hernandez.
Amy Fine Collins and Simon Doonan. Bronson van Wyck and Mark Gilbertson.
Blaine Trump.
Among the guests were: Amsale Aberra, Reem Acra, Marc Anthony, Iris Apfel, Nina Arianda, Fabiola Arias, Glenda Bailey, Dennis Basso, Cathie Black, Andrew Bolton, Hamish Bowles, Geoffrey Bradfield, Mario Buatta, Robin Burns-McNeill, Sharon Bush, Lisa Cashin, Kathryn Chenault, Barbara Cirkva, Suzi Cordish, Christina Davis, John Demsey, Carole Divet Harting, Simon Doonan, Linda Fargo, Fe Fendi, Amy Fine Collins, Joele Frank, Ron Frasch, Nina Garcia, Michele Gerber Klein, Marjorie Reed Gordon, Jamee Gregory, Audrey Gruss, Cornelia Guest and Agnes Gund.
Kamie Lightburn, Liz Peek, and Melissa Mitthoff who traveled from Houston for the luncheon. The Spring hat (the fashion week is spring).
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff and Eleanora Kennedy.
Wait, there’s more: Sharon Handler Loeb, Patti Hansen, Amanda Hearst, Celia Hegyi, Yaz Hernandez, Judith Hoffman, Iman, Chiu-Ti Jansen, Kimberly Kassel, Mariana Kaufman, Eleanora Kennedy, Coco Kopelman, Karen LeFrak, Leonard Lauder, Alexandra Lebenthal, Larry Leeds, Heather Leeds, Petra Levin, Kamie Lightburn, Jaqui Lividini, Carol Mack, Julie Macklowe, Fern Mallis, Grace Meigher, B. Michael, Gillian Miniter, Natalie Morales, Josie Natori, Liz Peek, John Pomerantz, Ann Rapp, Alexandra Richards, Theodora Richards, Darcy Rigas, Muna Rihani al Nasser, Judith Ripka, Sheryl Schwartz, Pete Scotese, Jean Shafiroff, Nancy Shaw Michelle Smith, Martha Stewart, Hilary Swank, Diana Taylor, Jamie Dr. Annette Rickel, Tisch, Lizzie Tisch, Barbara Tober, Zang Toi, Stefano Tonchi, John Truex, Kay Unger, Bronson van Wyck, Robert Verdi, Jieun Wax, Anna Wintour, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Sarah Wolfe, Whitney Wolfe and Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia.

Now Fashion Week begins. We are fortunate that NYSD’s fashion reports will again come daily from Ellin Saltzman who will deliver the low-down in what she saw in terms you can understand even without seeing.
the Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center after the luncheon.
Walking up Madison Avenue on my way home, I passed the Lisa Perry boutique where the designer was about to launch her Spring collection (tennis anyone?).

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