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2009 Couture Council Award for Artistry in Fashion Luncheon Honoring Dries van Noten
September 9, 2009

Opposite Photo:
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Photo Credit:
Daniel Perry

2009 Couture Council Award for Artistry in Fashion Winner Dries Van Noten
and Iman (right)
Photo Credit Daniel Perry

September 2009 New York Fashion Week was "kicked-off" when screen star and Van Noten fashion devotee, Maggie Gyllenhaal presented the 2009 Couture Council Award for Artistry in Fashion to Belgian designer Dries Van Noten (web). The Couture Council luncheon has set New York Fashion Week into motion for last four years.

The event was hosted by Simon Doonan, the witty face and voice of Barney's New York. Doonan proudly told the crowd that Barney's bought Van Noten's line from the inception. We were then treated to a film clip of Van Noten's fashion shows from the 1990's through to the present. Van Noten is famed for his relaxed fashions, created from gorgeous fabrics, and this aesthetic is ageless; the 90's fashion in the film clip were just as relevant today as his line for 2010.

“Dries Van Noten creates clothes of extraordinary beauty and originality,” said Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at FIT. “His sense of color, print, and decoration are unequaled, and his clothes are not for one season. Like works of art, they continue to speak to us across time and space. He has created a unique personal signature, but at the same time, he facilitates the wearer’s individuality."

Maggie Gyllenhaal presented the award, telling the group that she loved Van Noten's work and had asked him to design her wedding dress. She told us that she had a phone conversation with Van Noten describing exactly what she wanted. When the dress arrived, it looked nothing like the dress she had described to Van Noten. She was filled with despair until one of her friends suggested that she try it on. She did and suddenly there was magic; it was exactly the dress she wanted.

Model Iman then conducted a ticket drawing to give away three prizes, all donated by Van Noten:

Navy embroidered long sleeve blouse (size medium)
Gray bead embroidered layer necklace with ribbon closure
Khaki-black bag-in-bag

Simon Doonan encouraged the winners to run screaming to the podium just as though they had won something on a tv show, but that actually did not happen. This was a very dignified crowed and they were all wearing high heels. But dignity aside, all the winners were thrilled.

Here is are some quotes about the event from the press release from Jonathan Marder & Associates:

Dries Van Noten was chosen to receive the 2009 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion by the Couture Council Advisory Committee, an independent group consisting of curators, editors, and retailers. Members include Pamela Golbin, curator of the Musée de la Mode; Akiko Fukai, director and chief curator of the Kyoto Costume Institute; Glenda Bailey, editor-in-chief of Harpers Bazaar; Hamish Bowles, European editor-at-large of Vogue; Ken Downing of Neiman Marcus; Linda Fargo of Bergdorf Goodman; and Julie Gilhart of Barneys New York, among others. The Couture Council Advisory Committee is chaired by Dr. Valerie Steele.

The event was hosted by (be sure to scroll down for photos) founding Couture Council chairmen Yaz Hernandez, Liz Peek and Sarah Wolfe, and founding luncheon chairman Charlotte Moss. Also in attendance were members of the Couture Council Artistic Committee including Glenda Bailey, Hamish Bowles, Nina Garcia, Daphne Guinness, Iman, Carson Kressley, Isabel and Ruben Toledo, and Diane von Furstenberg, as well as junior chairmen Amanda Hearst, Samantha Thompson, Alexis Tobin, and Whitney Wolfe.

Guests included (be sure to scroll down for photos): Adolfo, Fabiola Beracasa, Lisa Cashin, Linda Fargo, Thelma Gordon, Audrey Gruss, Alexandra Lebenthal, Phillip Lim, Catie Marron, Ghislaine Maxwell, Lorry Newhouse, Elizabeth Peyton, Angel Sanchez, Arnold Scaasi, Lizzie Tisch, Barbara Tober, Lauren Veronis, Bettina Zilkha and Ambassador Herman Portocarero, Consul General of Belgium in New York.

2008 Couture Council Award for Artistry in Fashion Winner Isabel Toledo
and her husband, the artist Ruben Toledo
Photo Credit Daniel Perry

Click here for New York Cool's coverage of the 2008 Couture Council Award for Artistry in Fashion Award Luncheon honoring Isabel Toledo.

Click here for New York Cool's coverage of the 2007 Couture Council Award for Artistry in Fashion Award Luncheon honoring Alber Ebaz of Lanvin.


Daphne Guinness
Photo Credit Daniel Perry

Victor de Souza and Michelle Harper
Photo Credit Daniel Perry
FIT Director of Media Relations
Cheri Fein (L)
Photo Credit Daniel Perry

Glenda Bailey
Editor, Harper's Bazaar
Photo Credit Daniel Perry
Ludwig Kuttner, Beatrix Ost and Friend
Photo Credit Daniel Perry

Steven Kolb and Linda Fargo
Photo Credit Daniel Perry
Michel Heredia
Photo Credit Daniel Perry

Arnold Scaasi
Photo Credit Daniel Perry
Valerie Steele
Director FIT Museum
Photo Credit Daniel Perry

Diane von Furstenberg
Photo Credit Daniel Perry
Fabiola Beracasa
Nick Hunt of Patrick McMullan
Fe Fendi
Nick Hunt of Patrick McMullan
Heather Tom
Nick Hunt of Patrick McMullan
Nick Hunt of Patrick McMullan
Isabel and Ruben Toledo
Nick Hunt of Patrick McMullan
Isabel Toledo and Yaz Hernandez
Nick Hunt of Patrick McMullan
Jean Shafiroff
Nick Hunt of Patrick McMullan
Jamee Gregory and Robert Burke
Nick Hunt of Patrick McMullan

Carson Kressley, Alino Chen and ?
Photo Credit Daniel Perry

Lisa Boone and Nina Garcia
Photo Credit Daniel Perry

Fern Mallis, Alino Chen and Bettina Zilkha
Nick Hunt of Patrick McMullan

Hilary Rosenman, Alexandra Pappas and Whitney Wolfe
Nick Hunt of Patrick McMullan

Here is some information about Dries Van Noten, The Couture Council, The Museum at FIT and FIT from the press release from Jonathan Marder & Associates:

About Dries Van Noten:

Dries Van Noten is widely regarded as one of the world’s great designers, known for his distinctive use of color, print, and decoration. Born into a family of tailors and retailers, he studied at the Royal Academy in Antwerp, Belgium. With his very first collection in 1986, Van Noten quickly became known as one of the Antwerp Six. This group, which also included Martin Margiela, put Belgian fashion on the map. However, whereas many of the Belgian designers were known for deconstruction, Dries Van Noten focused on color and texture. He often creates his own fabrics and searches the world for artisans capable of expressing his ideas.

In 2004, Van Noten celebrated his fiftieth fashion show with a dinner in Paris at which models walked down the tables as if on a runway. He designs each collection item by item, offering the wearer an exceptional degree of individuality and freedom. Yet, rather than offering haute couture, all of his designs are ready-to-wear and available at retail. “I'm a little naïve, but I don't like the idea of showing things that you don't sell in a store,” he said in a recent interview. Van Noten creates four collections a year – two collections each for men and women for summer and winter. He has six stores in Antwerp (the famous Het Modepaleis), Dubai, Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo, plus approximately 400 outlets worldwide, including prestigious retailers such as Barneys New York.

Dries Van Noten received the CFDA International Designer of the Year Award in 2008. He dressed Cate Blanchett for the 2008 Academy Awards. Born in 1958, Dries Van Noten makes his home just outside Antwerp, where he exercises his passion for gardening on his seven acres of land.

About The Couture Council:

The Couture Council is a membership group of fashion enthusiasts that helps support the exhibitions and programs of The Museum at FIT, a specialized museum of fashion. Previous recipients of the Couture Council Artistry of Fashion Award are Isabel Toledo in 2008 (a prescient choice made before Michelle Obama selected Toledo's design to wear on Inauguration Day), Alber Elbaz of Lanvin in 2007, and Ralph Rucci, the recipient of the first award in 2006.

About The Museum at FIT:

The Museum at FIT is the only museum in New York City dedicated solely to the art of fashion. Best known for its innovative and award-winning exhibitions, which have been described by Roberta Smith in The New York Times as “ravishing,” the museum has a collection of more than 50,000 garments and accessories dating from the 18th century to the present. Like other fashion museums, such as the Musée de la Mode, the Mode Museum, and the Museo de la Moda, The Museum at FIT collects, conserves, documents, exhibits, and interprets fashion. The museum’s mission is to advance knowledge of fashion through exhibitions, publications, and public programs. The Museum is free and open to the public Tuesday though Friday from noon until 8:00 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. The Museum is closed Sunday, Monday and all legal holidays. Visit

About FIT:

The Museum at FIT is part of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a college of art and design, business and technology that educates more than 10,000 students annually. FIT is a college of the State University of New York (SUNY), and offers 44 majors leading to the AAS, BFA, BS, MA, and MPS degrees. Visit


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