No One Voted For The Fashion Group International Awards

“Snow is the new black,” declared awards moderator and Conde Nast editorial director Jamie Pallot. “Fashion is the new show business, and the Rising Star Awards are the new Golden Globes. But,” Pallot was quick to add, “I am not the new Ricky Gervais.” Nor, for that matter, were there any nomination equivalents of The Tourist. All of the 40 or so nominees who braved the snow to attend the fashion “globes” at Cipriani’s on 42nd Street last Thursday have made an impressive impact in their respective fields within a short period of time (under five years). Past recipients of the FGI award in recent years include Tory Burch and Stefani Greenfield.

We sat with accessories nominee Nicole Romano, who has staged well-attended women’s runway shows during New York Fashion Week but has arguably made her greatest mark with her handcrafted, statement jewelry, which is inspired by vintage materials. “I am honored to be recognized by Fashion Group International for my work,” she told us. “Jewelry is only the beginning of my brand’s vision.” She celebrated her nomination later that evening at Avenue with Patricia Field.

Of the scheduled presenters, only Bobbi Brown was unable to make the ceremonies, due to being snowed-in in her hometown of Montclair, New Jersey. To be fair, some parts of the burbs got 33 inches of snow, while us city dwellers were treated to a paltry 15 inches. Other presenters included: Lauren Bush, Linda Fargo, Ippolita, Catherine Malandrino, Simon Spurr, Amy Synnott-D’Annibale, and Newell Turner. Norma Kamali was the keynote speaker.

And the winners were… Marc Marmel, who took home the accessory award; Betty Lou of Blu Betty Lou Moscot for fine jewelry; Koray Duman and Laith Sayigh of Sayigh + Duman for interior design; Jennifer Fleiss and Jennifer Hyman of Rent the Runway for Retail; Siddarth Shah of Givaudan Fragrances Corp. for the fragrance corporate award; and Harold Zimmerman of Votre Vu as the emerging fragrance entrepreneur. Louis Diran took home the trophy for men’s apparel, while the women’s apparel award was a tie between Fabiola Arias and Bradley Scott.

Curiously, FGI does not have online voting, and that, coupled with the recent inclement weather, was likely responsible for the small voter turnout. There are 1200 members in New York City alone, yet a total of only 150 votes were cast. Brand consultant expert (and Vernon Company CEO) Kim Vernon, who praised Jamie Pallot’s hosting duties and told us that “it is always wonderful to honor emerging creative talent,” added that it is a “shame that FGI didn’t create online voting, thus only 150 votes were cast…Therefore, it was not a national contest, and the brands are national. Certainly two weeks of snow didn’t help us get there!”

Nonetheless, the winners were more than ready to celebrate, and we caught up with a couple of them post-ceremony. Menswear winner Louis Diran planned on going out with friends from Italy and having “a little” champagne. “Norma was one of my bosses,” he continued, “so it was very serendipitous that she was here to hold my hand today.” He recognized, however, that the economy has not been good to everyone, and his recommendation to designers starting out is to create a small number of quality looks — citing that Lucien Pellat Finet started off with only 10 cashmere sweaters. Reality show watchers likely know Diran better as the “star attraction” of Brooklyn Fashion Week on the Real Housewives of New York City, and, indeed, he counts Alex McCord and Simon Van Kempen as “real” friends and credits a big part of his year to knowing them. “They are ‘real’ reality people,” he said with a knowing wink.

Image via WWD.

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