“Think of me as sort of a gay male version of Maggie Smith’s character on Downton Abbey,” said Simon Doonan while smiling onstage at Cipriani’s yesterday afternoon. “I’m going to give you some life tips. Rising stars, are you listening?” And so began the 17th Annual Rising Star Awards, an industry event that drew the likes of Anndra Neen’s Annette and Phoebe Stephens, Warby Parker’s Neil Blumenthal and David Gilboa, and NARS’ Sara Zucker to celebrate emerging talent in fashion, beauty, jewelry and accessories, business, and design.
“Thank God for menswear, otherwise I would be freezing my ass off on days like today!” exclaimed Hal Rubenstein before presenting the menswear award to Pyer Moss’ tear-stricken Kerby Jean-Raymond and a very surprised Ian Velardi. “I really didn’t expect to be up here, so I have nothing to say,” offered the former. “But I do want to thank my girlfriend for allowing me to max out all of our credit cards. I promise you that I’m gonna buy you a ring after we pay off Chase, American Express, Capital One, and every other credit union who ever lent us money.”
Honor’s Giovanna Randall later received the womenswear award from a fanny-pack-totting Stephen Burrows, who wore his sunglasses onstage. The accessories prize, meanwhile, was handed to Edmundo Castillo. “Of course you want it, but you never know…” he whispered after leaving the podium.
We have to imagine that, as they left the luncheon, all the event’s guests felt like winners—after all, they had been privy to Doonan’s sacred life tips. His best advice? “Always make sure that you have at least one drag queen in your orbit. They’re very inspiring.”