We were already inclined to enjoy Fashion Group International’s 13th annual Rising Star Awards today. The luncheon took place at Cipriani on 42nd Street — just a stone’s throw from our office. But ease of transportation aside, the emerging designer talent was tremendous. Four out of the nine nominees were in our July feature on The New Guard: Matthew Ames, Prabal Gurung, Bibhu Mohapatra and Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs of Cushnie et Ochs. “We all kind of know each other,” said Cushnie. “It’s a little reunion.” Ochs, meanwhile, spilled a little info on their upcoming fall 2010 show: the two are doing hats with Albertus Swanepoel and gloves with Hugo & Marie’s Mario Hugo and Jennifer Marie. Expect “intense” embroidery on the latter. (A little Googling on Hugo and Marie, with whom we were admittedly unfamiliar, turned up this shopping site, of artist/fashion collaborations. We’re loving the scarves and the $1,050 Japanese hair pin, featuring spiraling lacquered resin and stainless steel text.)


But back to the Awards. A hoarse Nina Garcia — “I had no voice as of two hours ago” — was the keynote speaker and recounted how she landed her first fashion job in the public relations department at Perry Ellis, then designed by Marc Jacobs. Her timing couldn’t have been better; Jacobs was in the midst of working on his revolutionary 1992 grunge collection, which eventually led to his dismissal from the company a year later. “Be yourself, be daring, be bold and make fashion history,” she advised the designers.

[#image: /photos/58539c6a6666b2eb4762e085]||||||From left: Joseph Altuzarra; Peter Hildalgo

As for the winners, the ever-talented Joseph Altuzarra and Peter Hidalgo, in a tie, took home the prize for women's apparel, while Anthony Keegan and Richard Christiansen won men’s honors. The retail nod went to Edward Chai and Paul Birardi’s Odin New York boutique; interior design, Dror Benshetrit; accessories, to Amanda Pearl Brotman and fine jewelry, Monica Rich Kosann. And here’s another scoop: Kosann is currently working on a book on heirlooms and collectibles, out by Clarkson N. Potter this April. And how could we forget the beauty/fragrance awards? Janet League-Katzin of Sphatika International won in the “entrepreneur” category while Juliette Karagueuzoglou of International Flavors & Fragrances did the same in the “corporate” arena. Karagueuzoglou had the added bonus of having her mouthful of a name introduced flawlessly by W beauty director, Jane Larkworthy. “I did my homework,” she quipped.

[#image: /photos/58539c6be3d613c03e1ec34e]||||||From left: Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs of Cushnie et Ochs; Frédéric Fekkai and Calvin Klein's Francisco Costa.