Clocking in at nearly five hours in length — the first stars stepped onto the red carpet shortly after six, and the awards show wrapped just before 11 — Fashion Group International’s annual Night of Stars isn’t for the faint of heart. With emcee Simon Doonan and a full roster of prizewinners including Tory Burch, Erdem Moralioglu, Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton, Dee and Tommy Hilfiger, “geriatric starlet” Iris Apfel, and banner star Riccardo Tisci, the gala took over Cipriani Wall Street Thursday evening to honor fashion pros from across all arms of the industry.
Though the night’s theme was “The Nonconformists,” the evening made the argument that anyone, really, could fall under that sobriquet. There was Lady Fag, a member of Tisci’s contingent of supporters and a self-professed nonconformist since childhood: “It started young,” she said, recalling an incident involving a red skirt and pink tights and an unimpressed mother. Then there was Tory Burch, who received the Fashion Star award from W’s editor-in-chief Stefano Tonchi — he described her, in his opening remarks, as “the most reluctant nonconformist I ever met.”
Baz Luhrmann made sure to plug his Netflix series The Get Down in his introduction of Fashion Oracle winner Bolton; Ruth Wilson plugged Hillary Clinton in her introduction of designer Erdem Moralioglu, who joined Burch as the night’s Fashion Star honoree. “It’s very important that we feel powerful and we feel feminine,” she said. “It’s not just important; it’s vital.” A cheer went up throughout the crowd: “Yeah!” Wilson added. “Go Hillary!”
But politics weren’t exactly on the brain this night; instead, the giddiest among the fashion personalities in the crowd were simply excited to be in the company of friends. Doonan opened his remarks with a memoriam of Bill Cunningham. He emerged onto the red carpet shortly after model Pat Cleveland, honoree for Fashion Provocateur, arrived: “Oh, my God, I love you so much,” Cleveland told Doonan. “I sleep with your book under my bed.”
“That sounded dirty,” Doonan purred in response. Cleveland agreed.
Tisci rolled in with Nicki Minaj and Carine Roitfeld just after the event kicked off, and after photos, they joined Tisci’s own crew of nonconformists: performance artist Marina Abramovic, models Mariacarla Boscono and Joan Smalls, party promoter Lady Fag.
“I love to see Riccardo when he goes on for speeches because he doesn’t really like it,” Boscono giggled. “That’s very exciting. It’s a little like torture.” She and the Givenchy designer have been friends for nearly 20 years, while he’s known Lady Fag for about a decade and Smalls for around six years. His relationship with Minaj might be more recent, but she’s no less a part of the family: They attended the Met Gala together, and in her remarks before presenting him with the Superstar Award at the end of the night, she gushed with excitement.
“I don’t normally read at these things, but I had to make sure this was right. This is, like, the biggest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she said, going on to speak from the heart, describing the designer as a “sexy-ass piece of meat.”
As the night wound down, the various stars gathered in Cipriano prepared to go their separate ways, departing to far-flung corners. ’Twas the night before Halloweekend, after all. Lady Fag had a party to throw, and though June Ambrose had a stacked weekend of events ahead — hosting Ladurée’s Bonpoint party Friday night, and then tentative plans to party-hop on Saturday — the stylist, wearing a Bibhu Mohapatra design she’d selected the previous day, still turned out at the Night of Stars to support Yahoo Style editor-in-chief Joe Zee. Before she left home Thursday night, her husband asked what masquerade ball she was off to.
“I thought I looked normal compared to what I’m doing for Halloween,” she responded. “Tomorrow is going to be all about war — I’m going Civil War, 1800s, I’m going decay, 'The Revenant.'”
Zosia Mamet, on the other hand, was jetting off to Los Angeles for the weekend to shoot her upcoming thriller Under the Silver Lake, missing Halloween entirely. “I probably won’t be dressing up,” she lamented. Later in the night, she presented the sustainability award to H&M’s Daniel Kulle. “But I mean, what I was more daydreaming about [was] what my dog was going to be for Halloween. There’s always next year, right?”