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And the Winner Is…

The Third Annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Prize Goes to Doo-Ri Chung

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PHOTOS

Harvey Weinstein, Anna Wintour, and Diane von Furstenberg.
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Ashley Olsen, Marc Jacobs, and Mary-Kate Olsen.
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"Know the woman that you want to dress. It's the most important thing." That was the advice Valentino doled out as he was introduced to the group of CFDA/Vogue finalists at Skylight Studios on Thursday night. He wasn't the only one offering suggestions to emerging designers at the third annual Fashion Fund dinner. Last year's winner, Jeff Halmos of Trovata, encouraged the 2006 nominees to "drink plenty of champagne." "And use the mentorship," his colleague Sam Shipley added.

After dinner in a hall decorated with fresh greenery from floor to sky-high ceiling, the newly anointed CFDA president, Diane von Furstenberg, toasted the finalists before introducing Marc Jacobs, who soliloquized about the ups and downs and in-betweens of his own success story. Then a Marchesa-clad Penélope Cruz presented prizes to the runners-up, Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte and Thakoon Panichgul. They went home with $50,000, Montblanc watches, and keys to a Lexus—leased, but still. "This is the biggest night of my life," Panichgul said from the stage, thanking his stylist pal Tina Chai for her "amazing eye." Equally moved, she added, "This must be what Miss America feels like."

But the real star of the evening was Doo-Ri Chung, who, fresh off June's Swarovski Perry Ellis Award for Emerging Talent and a wedding to her longtime boyfriend, won the big $200,000 check. Among the many guests to offer their congratulations was Harvey Weinstein. Introducing himself as "the boyfriend of one the losers," the movie producer and beau of Marchesa's Georgina Chapman told Doo-Ri, "Congratulations, you deserve it." What would the designer do to celebrate? "I have to leave in about 15 minutes to catch a flight to Zurich." Chung is the first American to be nominated for the Swiss Textile Award. Asked about her prospects in Europe, she said, "It's an honor just to be nominated—like tonight."

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