Wednesday, May 13, 2009

THE AAFA's 2009 AMERICAN IMAGE AWARDS-HOSTED BY STACY LONDON



Stacy London





BENEFITTING THE EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR THE FASHION INDUSTRIES-THE CHARITABLE BODY OF F.I.T.

May 12th, 2009 6:30 PM
Grand Hyatt Hotel West 42nd Street NYC


Words, Images Judith Ecochard



A confab of famous name designers and media heavies- including F.I.T. alum (and Designer of the Year Award winner) Norma Kamali (looking amazing!)...

Norma Kamali & Carson Kressley








Bradley Bayou (also looking amazing), Designers Stan Herman and Dennis Basso, Real Housewives of NYC Countess LuAnn de Lesseps (in a “private label”), and presenters-- fashion designer and media personality Isaac Mizrahi, Carson Kressley (host of Lifetime’s “How To Look Good Naked), and InStyle’s Hal Rubenstein… joined many prominent fashion biz types (well attired, naturally) for the 31st Annual AAFA American Image Awards.

Hosted by the effervescent Stacy London of TLC’s “What Not To Wear,” the dinner and ceremonial proceedings included some rather poignant observations on the retail industry in general, and on target remarks by both the stylish giants and the deserving honorees---

Gilbert W. Harrison, Chairman & CEO of Financo (Lifetime Achievement Award)-a man who seemingly “can get anyone on the phone and make it happen.” Fittingly, Mr. Harrison observed how “our industry is facing the most challenging of times,” AND optimistically pointed out how this environment “brings creativity to the market place.”

Real Housewives of NYC Countess LuAnn de Lesseps








Blake W. Krueger, CEO & President, of Wolverine World Wide Inc. (Excellence In Lifestyle Branding Award)…the main guy heading up the GIANT company that owns/manufactures some of our favorite kickers (and backpacks)---including Chaco, Sebago, Patagonia and MERRELL

Michael A. George, President & CEO, QVC (Retailer of the Year Award) the massively influential cable channel that everyone who wants to sell anything dreams of getting a gig on...and corrals hordes of secretly or openly addicted viewers on a daily basis. REALLY, we know them.

… the Palm Beach socialite turned “Champion of the conversational print” designer Lilly Pulitzer (Spirit of a Woman Award) a woman who Isaac Mizrahi deemed “the icon of American design,” Though not physically present Scott A. Beaumont-the CEO accepted), Ms. Pulitzer’s anecdote “…if you have no charity in your heart, you have no heart…” ably summed up the evening’s modus operandi. And honestly, we don't know one chicette that doesn't have a Lilly Pulitzer sheath-- that got the big bump up courtesy of Jackie O...back in the day. Calling First Lady Michelle Obama---who will probably get her own print!

Isaac Mizrahi and his poppin' pink Pulitzer shoes





…and the fifty year old Barbie (Fashion Maverick recipient) as embodied by Richard Dixon of the toy company Mattel. Wonderfully introduced by Hal Rubenstein, Barbie is a "groundbreaking American icon"...who is never out of style. (The Reem Acra Barbie is our top pick)

Note: Stacy London’s quip that both Madonna and Barbie are fifty but “…classics have a great shelf life…” didn’t get the laughs it deserved.

The host is easily one of the most quotable interviews we ever had. Some of her comments that really hit home included:

“I believe in investment shopping”
“Psychological baggage is a bitch”
“Some women suffer from lack of self-esteem” (with respect to what they wear and NEED A MAKEOVER)

-and-

“Fashion is out of sync with what’s going on in the world…the return to the 80’s (runways trends like shoulder pads)…I don’t know how people are going to buy into it.”

Agreed.

Luckily we had more of a chat with this television personality during the cocktail hour…as her predictions that consumers are going to shop for the basics peaked our interest. Fortunately, London further explained that she sees no boring stuff selling…as “it’s a great environment for innovation,” and emerging labels.

Stacy London and Norma Kamali








London also felt that free shipping and ease of returning items are two key factors fueling the explosive growth of online shopping ...for clothes and footwear. And her last purchase online (recent) was a Martin Margiela bag from the website La Garconne…a hauler with the word “YES” splashed across it.



Dylan Lauren









Love the positive thinking!


WHAT AAFA IS:

The fashion industry is truly a global business and has been for hundreds of years (think the 2000 years old ancient SILK ROAD route clogged with merchants, traders and nomads traversing the 4000 miles).

Accordingly, the American Apparel and Footwear Association, based inside the Beltway, is this industry’s needed voice on Capitol Hill and a resource for information and services that impact everyone in this biz and their ROI.

Both the group’s President & CEO Kevin M. Burke and the newly anointed Chairman Carol J. Hochman (the first woman in this office YIKES) astutely remarked on the need to have a presence in Washington DC--- giving the industry “the ability to navigate through the process…” on legislation on crucial matters like counterfeiting… “having the right laws in place and enforcing them.”

Stanley Herman




And in a film clip that was shown to attendees, many AAFA members praised the trade group for informing and educating them on IT and financial strategies- as well as lobbying Congress on issues that plague the business--- piracy and duty taxes.

INFO:
AAFE
WOLVERINE WORLD WIDE
NORMA KAMALI
LILLY PULITZER
BRADLEY BAYOU
QVC
WHAT NOT TO WEAR
ISAAC MIZRAHI
CARSON KRESSLEY
BARBIE
FINANCO
F.I.T





Carson Kressley in Dolce & Gabanna Jacket “I told them what to do.” JOKE