Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Designer's Artistry Does Not Go Unnoticed

DESIGNER KNOWS BEST: Dries van Noten and client, Maggie Gyllenhaal. Photo by Nick Hunt/

“OH, my God,” was Maggie Gyllenhaal’s reaction when she first saw her wedding dress, a Dries van Noten design. She was surprised, but not pleasantly. Heeding her friend’s advice, she let herself get used to the dress.

“It actually often makes me feel more like a beautiful, sexy adult woman … more than anything else,” she told the crowd of several hundred at Cipriani 42nd St. this afternoon. DVN instinctively knew best, she said.

It is this quality, in part, that made DVN a natural to receive the FIT’s 2009 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion, which MG presented to the Belgian designer.

DVN gave a very brief acceptance speech before a crowd that included Iman, Diane von Furstenberg, the friendly/lovely/shy Heather Tom (“The Bold and the Beautiful”) and my new BFF-in-the-making and fashion diplomat, Alyson Cafiero (turned out in a hip and sophisticated DVN ensemble from the Spring 2009 collection: black top with w/exaggerated jewel neck, bangles on the bodice and small slit in back and skirt w/panels of metallic-colored cubes.

DVN thanked the Couture Council and “those people who made my dream come true and made my dream come alive.” He said he would be brief and he delivered – in about 25 seconds. Perhaps he is preserving his voice for tomorrow’s hourlong Q&A with FIT students.

Doubtless the Couture Council is pleased, but I couldn’t help but wonder whether its annual award ceremony could have a little more substance, with several speakers – something along the lines of the tribute to Walter Cronkite, which was in progress at Lincoln Center during the DVN lunch. A series of speakers, including Jimmy Buffett, former president Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama shared touching and humorous anecdotes about the legendary newsman ... Just a thought.

Anywho, DVN today joined a select group: Ralph Rucci, Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, and last year’s recipient, Isabel Toledo, who was in attendance and is most famously know outside the fashion world for designing the Inauguration Day costume of First Lady Michelle Obama.

Learn more about the FIT, FIT Museum and the Couture Council at

The Couture Council Luncheon, at a tender four-years-old, is such a hot ticket that it is billed as the first event of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which gets going in earnest tomorrow (10 Sept.-17 Sept.). Of course, the tents at Bryant Park are the main venues for the Spring 2010 collections under the umbrella of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America),with a number of shows off-site.

During Fashion Week, designers not associated with CFDA have always presented their collection. However, the number of collectives is growing. A select list:

In Brooklyn, Brooklyn Royalty presents “A More Perfect Union” Spring 2010 Runway Show and Afterparty (today at 7 p.m) at The Arsenal, 153 Roebling St.,Studio 4B, Williamsburg. (

In Queens for the second year, The II Long Island City Fashion Week Show (12 Sept. ) at Evandro Motors, 10-01 45th Ave., Long Island City. (; RSVP:

From ifashion network at various venues in Manhattan, “ifashion week{end}” (10 Sept.-19 Sept), billed as a weeklong unveiling of innovative designs, trends and style. (

At venues around Manhattan, including the Bohemian National Hall at 321-325 E. 73rd St., Nolcha Fashion Week, (14-18 Sept./

At the Waldorf Astoria, Couture Fashion Week, 11-13 Sept(

Also tomorrow (10 Sept.) is Fashion’s Night Out (, the global initiative to promote retail, restore consumer confidence, and celebrate fashion. In New York from about 6 p.m to 11 p.m./until, according to the p.r.: "Fashion's Night Out will encompass festivities galore— from inventive window displays to model and celebrity appearances. Champagne may flow; hors d'oeuvres may be passed. Rumors of musical performances, downtown barbecues, shoe capsules, limited-edition rings, and sweepstakes abound. Apparently there will be makeovers, brow bars, and haircut stations at sundry spots, too."

Stay tuned to VEVLYN'S PEN for Fashion Week coverage.

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