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Luminaries. They can inspire others and light up a party. “Luminaires” was also the theme of Thursday’s Fashion Group International Night of Stars dinner, and it was up to Amar’e Stoudemire and Jessica Biel to carry the torch. The two were the biggest stars of the night, and they amped up the glamour quotient. The Knicks star was the most sought-after man of the evening, and with his 6-foot, 10-inch frame, he was hard to miss.
Honorees Raf Simons, François Nars and Robin Klehr Avia of architectural firm Gensler were other highlights because they kept their acceptance speeches crisp and precise. The same couldn’t be said of others during the awards ceremony, which started late, went long, and left some in the audience grumbling about the way-too-downtown venue, Cipriani 55 Wall Street.
Host Simon Doonan took a detour from his usual comedy shtick and instead hit a somber note with lengthy introductory remarks dedicated to those in the industry who died of AIDS, first detected in 1981. “When the victims of 9/11 were memorialized on their 10th anniversary, I could not help but think about our fallen heroes, and I thought of the bright lights of fashion who were cruelly snuffed out by AIDS,” Doonan said. “I thought about how important it is for us to keep the flame burning for our friends who slipped away from us.” It was heartfelt notion, if somewhat incongruous with the evening, which benefited the Fashion Group Foundation.
Oscar de la Renta presented the night’s Superstar Award to Stephen I. Sadove and Ron Frasch for Saks Fifth Avenue. Other honorees included Kate and Laura Mulleavy, Daphne Guinness, Andrew Rosen, Lauren Bush Lauren and Wanda Ferragamo, who was absent but whose award was accepted by her children. Julianne Moore had been slated to receive an award for entertainment, but she was absent too so the Fashion Group nixed her honor altogether.
Biel, who presented to Giambattista Valli, recalled her first date with the designer at Caviar Kaspia in Paris. “I tried caviar for the first time and became more and more enthralled with Giambattista,” she recalled. “I have a confession,” she said to Valli. “I really hated that caviar, but I loved you.”
The room included many designers and socials, including Anna Sui, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, Francisco Costa, Italo Zucchelli, Lee Radziwill, Olivier Theyskens, Bianca Brandolini d’Adda, Chiara Clemente, Brendan Hoffman and Isabella Rossellini.
As for Stoudemire, he didn’t quite know what to make of his new luminary status. “They call me a renaissance man, but they can call me anything,” he said. “I just try to stay busy.”
After all, there’s a basketball strike on, so what else does he have to do?