“At least it’s not snowing this year” was a phrase heard repeatedly at Fashion Group International’s 15th Annual Rising Star Awards luncheon, held today at Cipriani 42nd Street. There were several FGI veterans in attendance, including Catherine Malandrino and past winners Thom Browne, Christopher Coleman, and Monica Rich Kosann (all three were also presenters today), who could remember prior years when the event was held on an especially chilly day. For the Rising Star nominees, however, it was a day full of firsts.
“I have been nominated for a few awards and not ever been in this situation,” Simon Spurr said, sounding quite surprised, as he collected his menswear award from Browne. “Obviously, this one is very special because, well, it’s my first one.” Before Nonoo designer Misha Nonoo picked up her womenswear award (she and Wes Gordon both won in the category in a tie), Nonoo joked, “If I end up having to give a speech, I am not nervous—I just had three bellinis,” she said. “Plus, they e-mailed us last night saying we absolutely had to keep our speeches under one minute.”
She might not have been nervous, but keynote speakers Isabel and Ruben Toledo were feeling the heat before they spoke (maybe that’s because they had more than 60 seconds to talk). “You know, we don’t do this [give speeches] for a living,” Ruben told Style.com as he snagged a bite of cake before heading to the stage. Meanwhile, his wife had lost her appetite for the moment. “I can’t eat now, but when I get back, I hope this steak is still waiting for me.” They had no reason to fret—they had plenty of wise words to offer the group. “When you have no budget, you learn to create out of thin air. Pragmatism becomes your best friend and you learn to do very much with very little,” Isabel said. “Whatever you love about what you do, keep on doing it. Don’t lose sight of that, no matter how hard things get.”
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