On the night of Monday, Nov. 16, at the sixth annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards to support emerging designers, Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour stood at the entrance to the back room of Skylight Studios, greeting guests and nominees. Like any good host, she wore a welcoming smile.
“Hi, Thakoon!” she said warmly as the designer, a star of the recent Vogue documentary The September Issue, walked in.
“What the fund has brought to New York is the recognition of this city as the place to come, not only for the big establishment, but the young talent,” Ms. Wintour told the Transom. She held her dark sunglasses in one hand and a glass of white wine in the other. “It means so much to us.”
It means quite a bit to the designers as well. Past winners included Alexander Wang, Trovata, and Proenza Schouler.
The party felt casual. Seemingly half the cast of Gossip Girl huddled in a corner, possibly to send out mass text messages about model Jessica Stam’s 6-inch heels. “Fashion is a character in the show,” explained actress Jessica Szohr.
Designer Vera Wang lounged on a white couch with her husband, Arthur Becker, talking about how they wanted one just like it. “I think this is a hard business,” Ms. Wang said. “I think the fact that we can lend a helping hand to designers as some kind of platform to dream is wonderful. If you don’t dream, it’s the end.”
Actress Nicole Kidman introduced the keynote speaker, designer and friend Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, who stood behind the microphone wearing his trademark big bow tie and thick plastic glasses. “Fashion is like a perfume,” he said. “Smell it—don’t sniff it or drink it.” Everybody laughed.
Ms. Kidman returned to the microphone with a big “And the winner is!” A pause. “No, no, no, the runner-up is …” Jewelery designer Monique Péan and men’s wear virtuoso Patrik Ervell. The top honor went to Sophie Theallet, who will receive $200,000 and a year of mentoring from a CFDA designer.
“You’ve made my American dream come true!” Ms. Theallet told the crowd in a thick French accent.