2009 March 17

On Top of the World!

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Steven Kolb, Diane von Furstenberg and Carolina Herrera Steven Kolb, Diane von Furstenberg and Carolina Herrera
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(NEW YORK) In the closing stages of a universal European jetlag, the Council of Fashion Designers of America announced the nominees for this year’s awards last night in a spirited cocktail party at the Rockefeller Center’s Rooftop Gardens. And Steven Kolb spent most of the afternoon delivering the good news. “I get to make three phone calls a year to designers so there's a lot of preparation that goes into it with the collection of all the numbers and e-mails,” said the organization’s president. “They hear from me when they’re elected to join the CFDA, get nominated for the awards or Fashion Fund. But on the other line, sometimes you hear a quiet disbelief, emotional tears, screams or loud cheers. It's one of my favorite things to do!”

The morning board meeting according to Kolb and Diane von Furstenberg went along without any drama, so the duo had the time to gather as many blissful nominees and recognizable supporters (like Carolina Herrera, Anna Wintour, Philip Lim, Peter Som, Richard Chai, Philip Crangi, Rachel Roy, and John Bartlett) as possible in a span of four hours. Most notably, the White House was notified that First Lady Michelle Obama will receive a Board of Directors Special Tribute and three of her favorite designers, Jason Wu, Narciso Rodriguez, and Thakoon Panichgul were all nominated as well. “I felt completely sick and horrible earlier today,” shared Wu. “I was forcing myself to do work in between. But then I got a call from Steven and that cures you a bit!” Rodriguez, who won the top Womenswear trophy in the past, was almost bombarded with congratulations from all directions. “This never gets old,” he smiled. “It's kind of as big as it gets in our industry. People still always want to touch and pose with my trophies.”

Other present nominees and honorees who were instantly toasted were Justin Giunta, Jim Moore, Alejandro Ingelmo, and Anna Sui who will receive the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award. “I was in shock when I found out because you work, work, work and never expect to get that phone call,” she admitted. “I hope I can take my parents with me to the awards, especially my father because he hasn’t been feeling well.” But the most popular name of the afternoon was Marc Jacobs was nominated three times including for his achievements at Louis Vuitton. “I was looking at pictures over the weekend [of the awards in 1993] and Marc was recognized too when I received my Perry Ellis Award [that year],” said Sui of her friend who's currently traveling through Brazil. “So it's destiny for us to be both recognized on the same night!”

The Menswear category inspired some niceties as well with Michael Bastian and Italo Zucchelli instantly bonding over being in the same shortlist. “I brought my show back to New York this season, so this is kind of like an elaborate welcome home present,” said Zucchelli. Bastian, on the other hand had a complete reverse strategy. He’s traveling to a small town in Umbria, Italy to design his spring collection. “It’s complicated because I don't speak the language or drive,” he laughed. “But that's why my summer collections are so happy and fall collections so serious and structured. The weather in New York is horrible, so all I do is watch CNN and cry!”

Bastian wasn’t the only one making travel plans. Isabel and Ruben Toledo are hoping for some relaxation in Miami, Wu is heading to London, and there’s rarely a week when Nadja Swarovski is not on the road. “I’m just so proud to be here with all of the designers,” she shared after announcing that her company will underwrite the ceremony for the eighth straight year. “I personally dreamt of winning an Oscar when I was little. But I think announcing today's nominees is as close as I would get to my big speech!” 



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