The art of parties and beyond

Fashion Group, Jean Paul Gaultier

Haidee Findlay-Levin wishes for more rule-breaking...

No such person was on the guest list, fortunately, but had there been a fashion terrorist in New York this week, she could have chosen any number of parties to drop a bomb and wipe out a wide swath of the fashion world, none more so than the Fashion Group International's Night of Stars. Despite the lengthy black-tie ceremony to give out its Rule Breakers awards, the FGI—in its 24th year—still seems to have excellent taste in identifying fashion’s real talents and innovators, those designers who take risks and move fashion forward, particularly this year.

Upon arriving, the awards gala felt more like a class reunion, full of friends of fashion and the fashion of friends. In addition to the honorees, many of the usual suspects of the last few nights were there, as well as a crew of younger designers like Richard Chai and Phillip Lim. I first met up with my dearest friend Hussein Chalayan and Melih Yoru, who, besides celebrating their 4th anniversary together (maintaining a long-term relationship in fashion warrants an award in itself), were in town to receive an award the following night, too. They were accompanied by Husseins's publicist, Libby Haan of Karla Otto, who looked smashing in one of Hussein's coat dresses. I noticed that Andre Leon Talley, there to receive a Fashion Oracle award, was also wearing a coat dress, which looked more graduation gown than anything else. I secretly hoped Hussein had one of his remote controls handy and would switch it into something else. Soon, Hussein, one of fashion's true masters of innovation (and looking super slick and chic in his Martin Margiela suit) was whisked away to receive a gift from one of the sponsors, an Ebel watch I believe.

One of the headliners, Jean-Paul Gaultier showed up to receive the Superstar award (someone please tell them that their award titles need updating), accompanied by the gorgeous British Columbian model Coco Rocha and none other than Lauren Bacall. Iconic, too, was the ever-stylish Tilda Swinton. There to present an award to Alber Elbaz, she looked stunning and simply elegant in a long silk sheath of a gown, Lanvin certainly. (Please let's all remember that “simple” is the expected, yet often forgotten, complement to the word “elegant.") Linda Evangelista, who was also seen at a Lanvin party the previous night, wore an exquisite belted black sequin dress.

I can only hope more celebrities and socialites would break convention and choose (or have their stylists choose) a dress from Lanvin, Hussein Chalayan or Rick Owens. Fishtails, bustiers and hourglass creations are absurdly outdated. I would love to see a light-as-air Lanvin gown billowing down a red carper instead of just the runway, or see one of Hussein's creations transform and blush as the wearer received her award. That would be worth more than any statue.

—Haidee Findlay-Levin

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