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NEW YORK — Kanye West took the spotlight again on Monday night, this time at the 15th annual Accessories Excellence Awards.
The entertainer, who was honored as Stylemaker of the Year during the gala at Cipriani on 42nd Street, made an emotional, if somewhat rambling, acceptance speech in which he said he “feels extremely misunderstood.”
Saying “fashion breaks my heart,” West expressed disappointment at the lack of respect for crossover artists like him. “Why [when] someone is so good in one field...[why] they can’t be given the slightest opportunity to express something creative in other fields?” Referring to his recent Louis Vuitton collaboration, West said, “I thank Marc Jacobs so much for giving me the opportunity to design shoes for Louis Vuitton, but the thing that broke my heart the most is when they said, ‘You’re finished.…Shoe’s ready.’ In closing, he said, “Thank you for this moment of acceptance.”
Alber Elbaz, who received the Designer of the Year award, was decidedly more low key.
“I think we’re lucky because we work with people who love and we do the job we love, and this is the definition of luxury,” he said. “I read this morning in Women’s Wear Daily…one of the drag queens at our show said that the Lanvin gown [he wore] was not only beautiful but it was comfortable…if a drag queen can tell me that my clothes are comfortable, this is success.”
Tennis star Maria Sharapova accepted the Collaboration of the Year award for her work with Cole Haan. As guests such as Melania and Donald Trump, Iman, Perrey Reeves, Nadja Swarovski, Patrick Robinson, Olivia Palermo and Dennis Basso listened, she said, “When I started working with Cole Haan two years ago, I never in a million years thought I’d be onstage speaking to all of you today…in a crowd with all of you, this is an incredible achievement.”
The Marylou Luther Award for Fashion Journalism went to Kim Hastreiter, co-founder, editor and publisher of Paper magazine. Hastreiter pointed out the importance of accessories in fashion. “Ted Muehling always told me that he thought of his jewelry as a punctuation on a woman, and in a sense I think it’s a great way to look at accessories in general.…My personal choices tonight [large turquoise drop earrings and a bedazzled necklace that spelled out “PAPER”] can be taken as exclamation points for sure…little signs that I’m enthusiastically saying, ‘Thank you for this.’”
Christina Ricci accepted one of the night’s more ambiguous honors, the Style Evolution Award, saying, “Thank you, your work made it possible for someone like me to attempt at least to evolve stylishly.”
Other honorees were: Lauren Bush, the Humanitarian Award for her FEED project; Henri Bendel, Retailer of the Year; Rachel Roy, Brand Launch of the Year for Rachel Rachel Roy; Al Berg, co-founder of Marchon, the Business Visionary Award, and QVC, E-Tailer of the Year.