The early bird catches the worm—that saying was certainly appropriate this morning when, before rush hour, a crowd of industry insiders flocked to the Museum of Arts and Design for breakfast to fête the winners of the 11th annual Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation awards. The birds? Designers Tim Coppens, Sunhee Moon’s Sunhee Huang, Titania Inglis, Eighteenth’s Alexa Galler, Haus Alkire’s Julie Haus and Jason Alkire, Correll Correll’s Vera and Daphne Correll, and Dezso’s Sara Beltran. The proverbial worm? $25,000 grants to fund their Fall presentations at New York fashion week, starting next Thursday.
“This is not something I would typically do on a Wednesday morning,” mused Coppens, who launched his menswear collection in April. “I was surprised to win, but it feels really good.” The judges, including former Barneys fashion director Julie Gilhart, Gilt Man’s Josh Peskowitz, and Paper‘s Kim Hastreiter, were all on hand to congratulate the recipients. “We all know how hard it is to get a solid footing in this business,” Peskowitz told Style.com. “This industry requires new people to be able to put forth new ideas, and having this award ensures that process continues.” Meanwhile, retail guru Gilhart bestowed some words of wisdom to the newly coronated designers. “Show up and bring something different to the table,” she advised. Adding, “This is not an award that is about lights, camera, action—it takes time.”
That is certainly true for industry veteran Huang, who has been working on her collection for the past 15 years. “I started crying when I heard the news,” Huang admitted. “I tried to launch the line several times, but it was difficult financially. This is the third time and I feel like it’s the start of my career.”
The Museum of Arts and Design held its annual benefit last night, and the theme this year was fluorescents. Neon art—donated by the likes of Rogan Gregory, Jen Kao, and jeweler Bliss Lau—hung on the walls and stood in the galleries, although it wasn’t all as inviting as it was bright. “One of my favorite things is the noose upstairs, ” Mad Men and Community star Alison Brie, one of the evening’s co-chairs, said. She was referring to a fluorescent-bulb hangman’s rope that dangled over the DJ booth where the evening’s entertainers, Chelsea Leyland, Sophomore’s Chrissie Miller, and Leo Fitzpatrick, played their sets (left). “I decided it might be a little too morbid for my house,” the Lela Rose-clad actress continued. “It might send the wrong message.”
The dress code was as flashy as the art—for most, at least. “I am in my basic New York black wardrobe,” co-chair Tyson Beckford admitted. “I just got off a plane from Miami and you know how that is down there—I wish I wore my neon pink Chuck Taylors.” His fellow chair, Waris Ahluwalia, was similarly restrained, though he agreed to wear the glowstick-glasses that were being handed out at the door. “I’ll take one picture in them and then these are coming off,” he said. No matter. In their vivid ensembles, Christian Cota, Becka Diamond, and Dani Stahl more than made up for any lack of highlighter hues.
This Fall, New York’s Museum of Arts and Design celebrates its second anniversary. The traditional gift for such an occasion, as any bride can tell you, is metal, so that’s what the museum’s well-wishers are offering: All manner of metal art, jewelry, clothes, and craft, which will be sold at its annual gala on October 18th to raise money for its educational programs. Arts and design being top of mind for the fashion set as well as fine artists, plenty of style-world types are involved: The host committee for the Metal Ball includes Chris Benz, Duckie Brown‘s Steven Cox and Daniel Silver, Pamela Love, Mandy Coon, and (full disclosure) yours truly. The list of artists donating is even more impressive. Richard Meier, Michael Stipe, Rogan Gregory, and Robert Lee Morris have all donated metal items for the cause; I’ve got my eye on the enormous metal urn (left), contributed by designer-cum-interiors-guru Rick Owens. It’ll go perfectly with that one-ton Owens alabaster bed I’ve had my eye on. For tickets and more information, visit www.themetalball.com.