Last night the Accessories Council held their annual ACE Awards honoring those who have impacted the world of accessories in 2011. Honorees were split between celebrities like Nicole Richie, who scooped up the Influencer Award for her line House of Harlow 1960, and accessories insiders like Frank Fialkoff, the CEO of Miriam Haskell, who won the Business Visionary Award. After the awards dinner, the evening closed with a surprise performance from Flo Rida.
Presenting the award to Nicole Richie, designer John Varvatos said, “Anyone can go to design school, but true style is innate.” Petra Nemcova, who was enlisted to present Georgina Chapman and Karen Craig of Marchesa the Brand Launch Award revealed she has asked the duo to design her wedding dress (she’s engaged to British actor Jamie Belman). And Mindy Grossman who was there to collect HSN’s E-tailer of the year award, told the crowd: "Life is never easy for those who dream” and spoke about rebuilding HSN since joining as CEO in 2006. She also paid tribute to style icon Loulou de la Falaise, who passed away this week.
We caught up with some of the winners, including hat maverick Philip Treacy, who won the Designer of the Year Award. He told us of his award, “People in America say to me, ‘What do you make?’ But hats are really a part of popular culture.” It’s been a banner year for Treacy, who outfitted half of the royal wedding attendees and is increasingly in the public eye thanks to Lady Gaga. Treacy, who is based in London, told us his favorite part of being in New York is that “the buildings all look like hats. The Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building -- all hats.”
Handbag designer Rebecca Minkoff, who won the Breakthrough Award, told us about the unique challenge that comes with being a handbag designer. “I fall in love with everything and then I look at it for six months and I’m not as excited anymore," she says. "I am excited, but I’m onto the next season. So keeping things fresh is tough.” As for her success, she says, “[My customer] really wants value for their money. They want things that look expensive but are not expensive. So I’m trying to give that to them.”
Jewelry designer Temple St. Clair who won the Hall of Fame award, and is celebrating her namesake company's 25th anniversary this year, offered this advice to designers looking to build a business: “Work really hard. When I was just starting out, I worked day and night. You’ve just got to keep it simple, keep humble and persevere.”