The Couture Council of The Museum at FIT’s annual Luncheon

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The annual Opening Number, now long established on the social calendars is The Couture Council of The Museum at FIT (MFIT) presented by NORDSTROM. Its date for years has marked the “official” opening of Fashion Week in New York.

This event raises funds for the Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology). It is New York’s only museum dedicated exclusively to the art of fashion. The funds raised will go toward developing exhibitions, programming, and symposia, all of which are free and open to the public.

Dr. Valerie Steele opens the lunch.

At this year’s luncheon, which was held at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, they honored Gabriela Hearst with its 2023 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion. Ms. Hearst is creative director of her namesake fashion brand Gabriela Hearst and French luxury fashion house Chloé, during their annual fundraising luncheon in New York City.

The award was presented by former tennis superstar Maria Sharapova and chef Daniel Humm. The luncheon was co-chaired by Lara Meiland-Shaw, board chair of the Couture Council, and Melissa Mafrige Mithoff, vice chair of the Couture Council. There is also the FIT Student Award this year it was Stella Hobart, was presented with The Museum.

Maria Sharapova and Daniel Humm.
Dr. Joyce F. Brown, Gabriela Hearst, Dana Thomas, and Dr. Valerie Steele.
Valerie Steele and Stella Hobart.

Dr. Valerie Steele Director and Chief Curator of MFIT welcomed guests. FIT President Dr. Joyce F. Brown  who presides over one of the most exciting and successful schools in New York, thanked everyone for coming and supporting the museum, and introduced Nordstrom Inc.’s Chief Stores Officer Jamie Nordstrom addressed the room. 

Both Valerie Steele and Dr. Brown together and separately have made FIT a destination in its field(s) both academic and historically. 

Among those attending the luncheonCandace BushnellMartha Stewart, Alina ChoAna Cruz Kayne, Wawa Gatheru, Audrey Gruss, Yaz Hernandez, Bethann Hardison, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Eleanora KennedyJulie Macklowe, Fern Mallis, Nicole MillerJohanna OrtizLiz Peek, Kara Ross, Hal Rubenstein, Ramona SingerRickie De Sole, Dana Thomas and Ali Wentworth.

L. to r.: Melissa Mafrige Mithoff, Gabriela Hearst, and Lara Meiland-Shaw; Darcy Rigas.
Gillian Hearst, Krista Corl, Eugenia Richman, and Janelle Currin.
L. to r.: Kara Ross and Eleanora Kennedy; Dallas Dalton, Sharon Jacobs, and Coleman McCarton.
L. to r.: Tom Gold, Margo Crody Blutt, and Patricia Mears; Gillian Miniter.
Jamee Gregory, Hilary Geary Ross, Audrey Gruss, and Jessica Gruss.
L. to r.: Deborah Farrington, Liz Peek, and Martha McGarry; Michele Oka Doner and Janna Bullock.
L. to r.: Michele Gerber Klein and Kristina Parsons; Marilyn Kirschner.
Nicole Miller.
L. to r.: Gabriel Rivera-Barraza, Ana Cruz Kayne, Yaz Hernández, and PJ Pascual; Martha Stewart.
L. to r.: Olivia Reagan and Cameron Silver; Ramona Singer and R. Couri Hay.
Daniel Humm, Gabriela Hearst, and Maria Sharapova.
L. to r.: Kathy Prounis; Kim St. Clair Bodden.
Jamie Nordstrom, Gillian Miniter, Gigi Ganatra Duff, and Indre Rockefeller.
Joan Hornig and Dr. Amelia Ogunlesi.
L. to r.: Dr. Joyce F. Brown and Dr. Valerie Steele; Janna Bullock and Kamie Lightburn.
Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Wawa Gatheru.
Bronson Van Wyck, Julie Macklowe, and Eleanora Kennedy.
Lee Fryd and Fern Mallis.
Muffie Potter Aston table.
Susan Magrino, Martha Stewart, Bronson Van Wyck, Eleanora Kennedy, Stellene Volandes, Malcolm Carfrae, Jodie Chan, Christine Schott, Sima Ghadamian, and Joanna Gong.

Photographs by Annie Watt & Zach Hilty/

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