Museum at FIT honors Gabriela Hearst with the 2023 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion – WWD

NEW YORK — To mark the arrival of New York Fashion Week, the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Museum at FIT again hosted their annual luncheon at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on Wednesday, raising nearly $1 million for the museum in the process.

This year, the Museum of FIT honored Gabriela Hearst, founder and creative director of her namesake fashion brand and creative director of Chloé, with the 2023 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion.

Museum supporters included Martha Stewart, Jill Granoff, Robin Burns-McNeill, Glenda Bailey, Bethann Hardison, Dana Thomas, Eleanor Kennedy, Jean Shafiroff, Cameron Silver, Alexandra Vidal, Zani Gugelmann, Jennifer Creel, Alina Cho, Ali Wentworth, Indre Rockefeller, Bronson van Wyck, Susan Magrino, and Fern Mallis.

Bethan Hardison

Bethan Hardison

Lexie Moreland/WWD

It’s been a busy time for Hearst, who is preparing to show her Gabriela Hearst collection on September 12 in New York and to show her latest Chloé collection on September 28 during Paris Fashion Week. As reported, Hearst is stepping down as Chloé’s creative director this fall after three years working together.

Hearst told WWD she plans to open a 3,000-square-foot store designed by Norman Foster on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles in November. She already has stores in New York and London, as well as a branch at Harrods. She also has a partnership for doing business in South Korea. Hearst plans to sit down with Fern Mallis at 92Y Thursday night for a chat about fashion icons.

When asked what it means to her to win the 2023 Couture Council Award for Artistic Creation, she told WWD, “It’s a recognition for the team. I feel like we’re moving in the right direction,” she said.

During the official part of the program, Dr. FIT President Joyce F. Brown: “Gabriela is a pioneer in the world of fashion.” She said Hearst grew up on her family’s ranch in Uruguay and has shown “an unwavering commitment to sustainability.”

“The industry is moving towards collections with a conscience. Gabriela is a role model for designers who accept their responsibility to reduce and prevent climate change. She leads by example by using post-consumer fabrics, eliminating plastic in her work and even creating the first carbon neutral runway show,” said Brown.

dr Joyce F Brown, Gabriela Hearst, Dana Thomas and Dr. Valerie Steele

dr Joyce F Brown, Gabriela Hearst, Dana Thomas and Dr. Valerie Steele

Lexie Moreland/WWD

Jamie Nordstrom, Nordstrom’s Chief Stores Officer and luncheon sponsor, said it was an honor to be a part of the event. “We’re in the novelty business and that’s what drives our business. Novelty comes from bringing new people into this industry and creating an ecosystem to support young creative people.”

Hearst was presented with her award by Daniel Humm, chef and owner of Eleven Madison Park, and tennis champion Maria Sharapova, former world number one tennis player.

“It’s an honor to call you our friend,” said Sharapova, who took the stage with Humm. She called Hearst “a person of such integrity” who trains like an athlete. She said Hearst texted her the night before and asked if she would please come on stage and say something. “I hadn’t prepared anything. He [Humm] “He made that up,” she said, pointing to his notes. “I call that cheating. Could it be ChatGPT?

Humm said Hearst has been a “huge inspiration” to him in a changing and challenging world. “Gabriela is insightful and very hardworking and knows how to make things come to life,” he said. “We were all blessed to see your creativity blossom.” He also said that Hearst pushed boundaries and pushed the entire industry forward.

Onstage, Hearst thanked her teams, Gabriela Hearst and Chloe, and FIT. She told the story of how she met her husband Austin Hearst and business partner Stephanie de Levalette in the same year, 2004. She said her husband told her she grew up on a ranch in Uruguay, which she always dismissed was special and she should emphasize her identity. She said de Levalette was “the only person in the world who never underestimated me.”

Hearst said she was advised more than 20 years ago when she worked in a showroom representing a French brand of sneakers and sportswear and that deliveries were very late. She was lugging the sneakers up a steep flight of stairs to meet someone and the boss said to her, “You’ll make it because you have determination… but don’t believe the hype.” That’s what I say to all students: ” Stay the course, even if it is possible, but it’s all about the work.”

“Every single new designer knows that sustainability is humanity’s most important crisis and it’s already ingrained in them and I can’t teach them anything and learn everything from them,” she said. Museum at FIT honors Gabriela Hearst with the 2023 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion – WWD

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