Bettina’s Take: FIT Couture Council Award Presentation to Valentino


valentino FIT award

Labor Day is over and done with, homes have been packed up, kids sent to school, and it’s time to get back to the New York City routine.

The FIT Couture Council luncheon felt like a reunion of sorts, for fashion insiders and fashion lovers alike.

Held at Lincoln Center, aka Fashion Week headquarters, in the David Koch Theater, the event was a celebration of this year’s Artistry of Fashion Award recipient, the incomparable Valentino.

Many of the guests wore red, the designer’s signature color, some in actual Valentino (Liz Peek), and some in various other designers, including Alexander McQueen (Lizzie Tisch), L’Wren Scott (Carol Mack). Bill Cunningham snapped away. (My money’s on red, or leopard, or a combination of the two, as the theme for his next column.)

“Did your house lose power? Was it flooded? Any damage? We didn’t have power until Friday,” was the general talk at the beginning of the affair. “Summer went by so fast, that hurricane cheated us.”

Kamie Lightburn, one of the event’s vice chairs, left her Rhode Island home on the Friday before. “My husband was so smart,” said Lightburn, wearing a black, gray and floral Valentino. “He thought we could lose power, so we’d be better off in the city. He was right.”

The summer clearly agreed with Ivanka Trump. Resplendent in Alberta Ferretti, and wearing jewelry, shoes and a handbag of her own design, the beautiful entrepreneur has lost all the baby weight.

“Celebrating a visionary like Valentino is great,” said Trump. “Valentino was one of the first designers that resonated with me. His designs are elegant, feminine and wearable.”

I asked Giancarlo Giammetti, Valentino’s long time partner, what the award meant to him.

“It is one last homage, one last act of love of America to Valentino. Valentino recognizes that America was the first one to support him,” answered Giammetti. “This is an amazing and beautiful tribute.”

Tisch, another of the Couture Council’s vice chairs, was thrilled to be supporting FIT.

“The Museum at FIT is so important not only to the City of New York but to the rest to the world. The Museum is the only one in New York dedicated to fashion,” said Tisch. “Valerie Steele is to be applauded on the work she has done—we are lucky to have her.”

The lean and lovely crowd nibbled on arugula salad with prosciutto and figs, followed by chicken stuffed with apricots and pistachios. Simon Doonan praised Valentino in his speech as only Simon Doonan can.

“Valentino is the undisputed king of fabulosity,” said Doonan. “He has always given us the whole package: the lifestyle, the glamour, the genius.”

As we exited with our Valentino red bags designed by One Kings Lane especially for the occasion, I asked Dennis Basso how many people had asked him if he was having a show this season. “So many people!” said Basso, with a combination of amazement, delight and frustration.

Don’t fret. Your invitation didn’t get lost in cyberspace. Basso is not showing during Fashion Week this season.