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HONORING HAMISH: Before accepting the Fashion Icon Award from Pratt Institute on Wednesday evening in Chelsea, Vogue European editor at large Hamish Bowles greeted guests over champagne in a curtained-off room at the back of the Metropolitan Pavilion. “I’m profoundly flattered,” he said. “Part of me thinks it’s a sign of extreme old age that I’m suddenly being considered for honors.” He joins the company of past winners: Catherine Malandrino, Ralph Rucci, Carmen Marc Valvo, Narciso Rodriguez and Diane von Furstenberg, who came to introduce Hamish during the presentation.
Bowles is the first editor to win the award. “I’ve just sort of bumbled along having a nice time — sometimes an unnerving time — but never a dull moment,” Bowles said of his 20 years at Vogue and six years at Harpers & Queen in the U.K., where he went to work after art school. “It’s fun to look back and think, maybe there is some body of work to look back on.”
Asked if he made anything of the recent departures of style director Alexandra Kotur and contributing fashion editor Edward Enninful from the magazine, Bowles tread lightly. “I think that that was just such a great opportunity for Alexandra,” he said. “To be back with Jay [Fielden] I think is an exciting challenge and one that she can certainly rise to. And I think clearly she understands the world of Town & Country very much.” A Pratt publicist snatched him away to take photos.
“I think moments of flux are kind of exciting, to be honest,” Bowles added later. “I think we’ve had a status quo for a certain amount of time, and I think it’s actually been really nice that it’s been so unbalanced in a way. I should just say hello to Anna, sorry.” He darted away again to take photos with Anna Wintour, who was just arriving.
Later von Furstenburg presented Bowles with the award on stage. “Hamish is a true renaissance man — he can do just about anything,” she said, listing Bowles’ latest stunts for Vogue, including playing basketball with Amar’e Stoudemire. “I always tell Hamish that, to me, he’s a closet butch,” she added.
Accepting the award, Bowles thanked his parents and recalled his days at St. Martins with, among other classmates, “the protean John Galliano.” When it came time to thank Wintour, he took a half step back from the podium and sounded slightly choked up, with his arms crossed. “It’s almost impossible for me to imagine that it was almost 20 years ago that I first set trembling foot at American Vogue,” he said.
“Thank you, Anna,” he added, “for the gift that keeps on giving.”
— Zeke Turner