On the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, it’s only appropriate that the Council of Fashion Designers of America should turn its attention to the environment. At a New York luncheon yesterday, the CFDA and Lexus announced the winners of the Eco-Fashion Challenge—an annual event that rewards designers for their environmentally responsible fashion. “It’s only the tip of the iceberg,” said Amber Valletta, who, wearing a Daniel Silverstein dress cut from zero waste, predicted that there will be a major shift in eco-friendly design in another five years. “It’s necessary, responsible, and economical. Luxury is about being thoughtful and sustainable from the beginning.”
Guests including Coco Rocha, Steven Sebring, Maria Cornejo, and Steven Kolb filed into ABC Kitchen for the affair. Over shared plates of locally sourced crab toast and braised mushroom, they applauded top winner Natalie “Alabama” Chanin for her organic, handcrafted wares. “Hand embroidery is very engrained in rural communities in America,” Chanin said. She pointed to the hand-sewn skirt from her namesake label that she was wearing, explaining how she sources the organic cotton from Texas, then has it processed and dyed in North Carolina before it’s sewn by Alabama artisans.
The selection committee, which included Valletta, fashion consultant Julie Gilhart, and CFDA’s Lisa Smilor, among others, also gave awards to Mark Davis for his jewelry, and SVILU’s Britt Cosgrove and Marina Polo for their environmentally sound, understated womenswear.
Leave it to the queens to do Halloween in style. Last night at MoMa PS1, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim along with Luis Venegas of Candy magazine hosted an art-meets-fashion Halloween drag ball, complete with an old-school pageant. “This is Miss America on steroids,” proclaimed MC Ladyfag before letting the contestants loose on a makeshift catwalk.
Later, Ladyfag explained, “It’s really a celebration of a culture that always dresses up. Most of the people here do this every day. It’s nice for people to stop and think what really goes into all of this all the time—how much work it is being a drag queen!” The work was evident in the hundreds of elaborate, detailed transformations—a sparkling, towering mummy bride; a red-lip-smeared Horn of Plenty; and co-host Melissa Burns as Prince. Also in the crowd: a well-disguised Michael Stipe and Justin Bond. “This look? I wanted to make it a bit Saint Laurent grunge, but at the same time I thought it would be cool to have something that would remind people a bit of Norman Bates’ mother—Norman from Psycho,” explained Venegas of his ladylike, lace-collared flower frock. “You know I come from Spain, so to be in New York celebrating Halloween with a drag ball is quite amazing for me!”
“It’s a total mess, but it’s great!” added Swedish pop star Robyn from beside the tequila bar. “I just think people are having a good time.”
Just when you thought that the peak season for air kisses and fashion chitchat had passed, wham!—along comes one of those New York City weeks that’s chockablock with events. Time to get your nice clothes back from the cleaner, where they’ve been sitting since your return from Paris, and refresh ye olde manicure.
Monday-night festivities included a dinner on the terrace of the Gramercy Park Hotel celebrating Charlotte Ronson’s collaboration with Vogue Eyewear, hosted by Eva Mendes.
Tuesday night found London-based Isa Arfen designer Serafina Sama throwing her first-ever Stateside bash at hot spot Omar’s. She drew quite a photogenic crowd, including her stylist, Valentine Fillol-Cordier, who flew in for the occasion; model/activist Kyleigh Kuhn; and host Kate Foley. Later that evening, action moved to the Fat Radish, where Antwerp-based designer (and Woolmark Prize-winner) Christian Wijnants presided over a family-style meal of celery pot pie and monkfish curry. (Just the hearty thing for the start of a cold snap.)
Family-style was the name of the game again on Wednesday night, which saw Assembly New York serving up farro and roast chicken at the fantastic new restaurant Dimes, on Division Street. Assembly ringleader Greg Armas and dinner hosts Ana Kras and Devendra Banhart mixed it up with the crowd. Meanwhile, down the road on Canal Street, Sea designers Monica Paolini and Sean Monahan were hosting at home and had cooked dinner themselves. The potatoes were particularly delicious: onion, rosemary, and lots and lots butter did the trick, according to Paolini. Worth getting the clothes back from the cleaner for.
Last night in L.A., some of the biggest names in fashion, music, film, and food came together at the inaugural gala and auction for Wolfgang and Gelila Puck’s Dream for Future Africa Foundation. Gelila, who was born in Ethiopia, founded the organization in 2010 in order to help the children of Africa. Indeed, it’s a good cause—one that drew everyone from Karolina Kurkova, Angela Lindvall, and Dita Von Teese to Quincy Jones, Smokey Robinson, and Reed Krakoff. “Tonight as I was getting ready, standing in my closet, this white gown called out to me,” the hostess said of her Deco dress. “I chose to wear white to represent our organic spirit in honor of our mission.”
As guests including Ali Larter, Maria Sharapova, Devon Aoki, and Rachel Zoe mingled, a newly engaged Kanye West and Kim Kardashian arrived just in time to greet the evening’s honoree, Vogue Italia editor in chief Franca Sozzani. “I doubt Franca knows this, but my first modeling job was with Vogue Italia,” said Amber Valletta while introducing Sozzani to the crowd. She later added that the editor changed the course of her career. Taking the stage to accept her accolade, Sozzani coined the night’s catchphrase: “Giving back is the new luxury.”
From galas to premieres, the celebrity set had plenty of reasons to dress up this week. At the 2013 Whitney gala in New York on Wednesday, all-black Louis Vuitton frocks were a favorite, with Dianna Agron and Michelle Williams wearing crystal- or bow-embellished iterations, respectively. Earlier in the week, red-carpet regulars Marion Cotillard and Natalie Portman selected floral looks from Christian Dior’s Spring ’14 runway. The former wore a strapless silver jacquard number to Elle‘s 20th Annual Women in Hollywood celebration on Monday, while the latter paired a black cashmere top with a floor-grazing skirt for the world premiere of her film Thor: The Dark World on Tuesday in London.
On Friday evening, Lupita Nyong’o took to the red carpet in a black Resort ’14 Christopher Kane dress at premiere of her film 12 Years a Slave during the 57th BFI London Film Festival. A rising star (in the sartorial and silver-screen sense), Nyong’o has a commanding presence. And, judging by her recent sartorial winning streak (last week’s Miu Miu look was quite a stunner), we have a feeling that this newcomer will soon be a fixture on many a best-dressed list.
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- style file covers all the news in style, from high street to high fashion, with dispatches from new york, l.a., london, paris, milan, tokyo, beijing, and more