The wind was picking up when The Observer walked into the private entrance of Le Bernardin yesterday evening. Les Salons Bernardin, the famed New York eatery’s private rooms, was the venue for a cocktail celebration of fashion designers shortlisted for the 2011 Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize.
A variety of fashionistas and fashionistos including “classy” writer Derek Blasberg, short-pant man Thom Browne, Vogue-ette Lauren Santo Domingo, Pradambassador Shala Monroque and Marchesa duo Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig served as judges for the event. They deliberated in one of the Salon’s back rooms and drew up their final shortlist just before 6:00pm when guests arrived.
Although several of the judges had to leave soon after the first bottles of champagne were popped, guests nonetheless enjoyed themselves, hobnobbing and mingling in the Salon. A slew of waiters whisked endless bottles of champagne through the room while others offered platters of Bernadin delicacies to guests.
As expected, the dainty dishes were incredibly delicious. Zucchini flowers stuffed with succulent crab were complemented by miniscule chicken skewers and bites of tuna tartar. Guests continued to sip their bubbly as the evening’s torrential downpour game and went unnoticed.
The Dorchester Fashion Prize’s chairwoman Bronwyn Cosgrave graciously introduced guests to the designers and the judges. Wearing a striking teal ensemble she circulated throughout the party, convivially chatting with everyone in the room.
One of the shortlisted designers, menswear extraordinaire Siki Im, came just after the party started. “I just found out ten minutes ago. I came up here, I had no idea,” the designer said. “ I feel like a reality show,” he added.
Siki Im joins Anndra Neen, Giuletta, Julian Louis, and Setareh Mohtarez as the final five designers in the competition. The selected designer will be granted a $40,000 endowment and the opportunity to display their wares at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée during Paris fashion week.
Walking outside, the ground was wet but the sun was shining once again on Le Bernardin.