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Looks Like He's Made It

The FIT Couture Council honors Michael Kors

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Hilary Swank and Michael Kors.   
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"Michael Kors is a mensch," said Fern Mallis at this afternoon's FIT Couture Council luncheon at Lincoln Center, where the designer was honored with the Award for Artistry of Fashion. For those not in the know, mensch is a Yiddish word that basically means the best guy ever. "He is such a mensch," concurred Simon Doonan. "And he's always been the most passionate, committed designer and philanthropist. I just adore him," he added before recalling that infamous moment when, in 1991, the ceiling caved in at Kors' show in a New York loft. "Anna Wintour was picking plaster out of Suzy Menkes' hair!" laughed Doonan. "It was that show that caused me to organize fashion week [at Bryant Park]," said Mallis.

Crumbling ceilings aside, it seemed that everyone at the afternoon fete, which drew such fashion fixtures as Linda Fargo, Andrew Bolton, Iman, Alexandra Richards, and Couture Council chair Yaz Hernández, shared warm feelings about the man of the hour. Doutzen Kroes, who donned a spotted Kors frock, first met the designer during a fashion week fitting. "He made me feel very comfortable. He's a big deal, but he doesn't behave like that. And I remember he liked my tan," she said. "He has a tremendous empathy with women, and he really understands his customer," added Valerie Steele, the director of the Museum at FIT.

"I love being menschy. I'm a New York guy! A nice Jewish boy! I'm so lucky that I knew early on what I wanted to do with my life. Then, to be able to do it and do it well? I've gotta give back," said Kors, who, it should be noted, recently donated a $1 million scholarship to help FIT students.

After the likes of Iman and Chanel Iman had settled into their seats, Hilary Swank, dressed in a flirty printed Kors dress, took the stage. "He's the king of American sportswear," announced the actress, who accompanied the designer to the Met Ball in 2012. "But what resonates with me above all is Michael's genuineness…. He's real…. And, to me, that is so much more attractive than any design could ever be."

After accepting his accolade—while wearing his signature sunglasses, of course—Kors addressed the crowd, discussing everything from how far he believes sportswear has come since he began designing thirty-two years ago to his incompetence with sewing machines. Before leaving the podium, he offered, "People say to me…'When did you know you made it?' And, you know, I've always believed that the minute you think you've made it…you're done. Well, guess what? I'm not done."

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