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The Couture Council of
The Museum at FIT
Celebrates 2007 Honoree for
Artistry in Fashion
Alber Elbaz
September 5, 2007
Rainbow Room

Written by Wendy R. Williams
Photographed by Katherin Wermke

(Opposite Photo: Demi Moore)


Chloë Sevigny

Stars lit up the Rainbow Room on Wednesday when the Couture Council of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology held its second annual luncheon to honor the recipient of the Couture Council Award in Artistry of Fashion, Alber Elbaz of Levin (the first year’s award recipient was Ralph Rucci).

The arrivals were a rush of glamour with: movie stars Demi Moore and Chloë Sevigny; rapper Eve; models Linda Evangelista and Iman; the editor of Harper’s Bazaar, Glenda Bailey; stylist-to-the-stars Rachel Zoe; gal-around-town/purse-designer Genevieve Jones; and socialite/philanthropists Blaine Trump, Muffie Potter Aston and Liz Peek (whose husband Jeffrey is Chairman of the Board of CIT, which graciously underwrote the luncheon). (Scroll down for Katherin Wermke's photographs).

Barney’s window dresser, author and silver-tongued-devil Simon Doonan opened the luncheon festivities with a witty-ditty-of-a-tale about a mishap-that-almost- happened when he was arranging a fashion show for Alber Elbaz for Barney’s in Los Angeles. It seemed there were some budget constraints and Simon had envisioned a luncheon presentation with models wondering throughout the room, weaving and bobbing between the tables (a la Palm Beach’s Taboo). When Mr. Elbaz got wind of the arrangements, he was under-whelmed, as in, “I want chandeliers. I want a runway.” Simon immediately set about scrounging up every chandelier he could find, including (he says) “borrowing” one form the Spellings. But obtaining the chandeliers in an attempt to make everything “flossie, flossie” (in the words of memorable chanteuse Fergie), ate up most of the budget leaving only enough money for (horror of horrors) “local girls.” Simon had the audience in stitches with his description of his calls to the local Barbizon School of Modeling and his maydays to Compton biker clubs.

But all ended well; Mr. Elbaz happily dressed and styled the “local girls” and by donning his designs they were transformed. And as Simon said, “That is the genius of Alber. He took those California chippies and turned them into Left Bank existentialists."

Then Liz Peek spoke; she greeted the roomful of “local girls,” to great laughter from the crowd. Liz then introduced Dr. Joyce Brown, the President of FIT. And then Mrs. Peek introduced her husband, Jeffrey M. Peek, the Chairman of the Board of CIT, who spoke briefly to the appreciative crowd (the food at the luncheon was quite good from the lobster appetizer to the vanilla cream meringue cake).

Simon then introduced Glenda Bailey as the leader of the David Beckham cheering squad. Glenda told that crowd that she is not up on anything involving footballers (what the English mistakenly call soccer players, but you knew that) but is very enthusiastic about Alber Elbaz. Ms. Bailey then presented Mr. Elbaz with his award.

Linda Evangelista, Alber Elbaz and Chloë Sevigny

After he received his award, Mr. Elbaz spoke. He told the crowd that he came to New York (from Israel) with a wallet which contained only $800. He said that he saw himself as bringing two suitcases, one that held his worldly possessions and one very heavy one that held his dreams. He told that crowd that Yves Saint Laurent once told him that, “Chanel gave women freedom and Lanvin gave them power.” He also told a story about how one of his customers once told him that she loves his clothes because whenever she wears them, a man falls in love with her. Mr. Elbaz said that he told her that he wanted her to turn that around and the next time she wore one of his dresses, he wanted her to fall in love with a man because it is the stronger choice. He also spoke about the cost of couture and how can two yards of fabric be worth $4,000? But then he answered his own question by saying that beautiful clothing fulfills dreams and by making couture, he becomes a dream maker.

Congratulations to FIT, the Couture Council and Alber Elbaz for a lovely celebration of the art you can wear.

Iman Linda Evangelista
Muffie Potter Aston and Jamee Gregory
Simon Doonan Glenda Bailey of Hearst Magazines
Rachel Zoe Genievieve Jones

Isabel Toledo of Anne Klein Rosemary Ponzo in Lanvin
Iris Apfel Byrdie Bell in Lanvin
Sarah Brown

Blaine Trump

Susan Akkade of Mac Frederic Fekkai and Shirin von Wulffen

Amy Fine Collins

Liz Peek, Glenda Bailey, Valerie Steele, Alber Elbaz,
Dr. Joyce Brown and Jeffrey M. Peek
Above Photo Courtesy of the FIT Couture Council


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