FIT’s Couture Council Hosts Summer Party for Upcoming Luncheon to Honor Valentino

Zac Posen and Dr. Valerie Steele

Fashion Institute of Technology’s Couture Council recently held court at the Boathouse in New York’s Central Park for its Annual Summer Party. The cocktail served as a launch event for the association’s autumn luncheon, and amassed a colorful collection of guests, who experienced a delightful, floral ambiance at the airy Boathouse: The decadent spread of gourmet Italian delicacies, fine wines, prosecco, and specialty Grey Goose cocktails would have made any uptown fashion maven blush. Such splendid interiors and fare were surpassed only by the glorious summer weather. As the sun set, fabulous couture-clad attendees—either unfathomed or deeply entertained by the boisterous heckling of hospitality protesters outside—flooded the Boathouse in groves to toast the upcoming luncheon, which will honor Italian couturier, Valentino Garavani.

Once a year, the Couture Council award is bestowed on an outstanding créateur de mode, who has made legendary contributions to the world of high fashion; previous recipients include: Karl Lagerfeld, Dries van Noten, Isabel Toledo, Alber Elbaz, and Ralph Rucci.

This year’s Summer Party host committee included fashion figures Liz Peek, Michelle Violy Harper (missing in action at the soirée?), Yaz Hernandez, Michèle Gerber Klein, and esteemed FIT Museum director, Dr. Valerie Steele.

Valentin Hernandez, Yaz Hernandez, and Valentin Hernandez.

That night at the Boathouse, uptown social fixtures and downtown creative luminaries—abuzz with pre-fashion week bavardage— strutted about, enjoying the fabulous views of central park and each other.

“It’s just so nice to see lovely ladies in couture,” marveled Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief, Glenda Bailey, as she scurried off to the next affair. And indeed it was. Notables amongst the well dressed included: couturier Maggie Norris, Jennifer Creel, Cece Cord, jeweler Eric Javits, reality queen Alex McCord, Patricia Field, Alva Chinn, designers Thakoon Panichgul and Maria Cornejo, and Sharon Bush. Of course, cherished New York Times photog, Bill Cunningham, was on-hand to snap the many posing peacocks.

Clockwise from top left: Alex McCord and hubby Simon Van Kempen, Patricia Field, Michele Gerber Klein, Alva Chinn, Eric Javits, Maria Cornejo, Alexa Winner and Maggie Norris, and Charlotte Moss.

The arrival of designer Zac Posen (who recently opened his first namesake store for his Z Spoke diffusion line) certainly caused quite a stir. But his newish publicist was sure to ferociously keep the prying media and any “unwanted” dialogue at bay… Carson Kressley, on the other hand, was more accessible—greeting fans and kissing acquaintances with much ebullience.

Carson Kressley lays a wet one on Devon Scott.

In a mere week, on September 7th, at David H. Koch Theatre, the Couture Council will roll out the red carpet for its benefit luncheon and present the Artistry of Fashion award to signore Garavani. The luncheon seeks to not only recognize the world’s most celebrated designers, but to enable the FIT Museum to produce world-class exhibitions of fashion, host public programs, and acquire significant additions to its renowned permanent collection. (The museum is the only one of its kind in New York City dedicated entirely to the art of fashion.)

Steele and designer Thakoon Panichgul

While the Couture Council does generate funding from its exclusive membership, the Museum of FIT relies heavily on the annual luncheon for financial support. Last year’s engagement raised over $600,000, with more than 500 benefactors in attendance. The 2011 luncheon chairs are Anne H. Bass, Charlotte Moss, Diane von Furstenberg, and couture empress Daphne Guinness. Tables and seats for the luncheon are still available and range from $1,000-$25,000. Interested parties should contact Vicki Guranowski (212.594.9206).

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