On The Avenue

Makin’ Whoopi at Fashion Week’s Kicky Kick-Off

by Michael Gross Photographed by Zach Hilty/BFA.com
Friday, September 8, 2017

The annual Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Couture Council Luncheon, co-chaired by Sharon Jacob and Kathy Prounis, was held on Tuesday on the terrace and beneath the towering sculptures in the David H. Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center. Previewed here last week, the packed event honored designer Thom Browne, who was introduced by a Browne-clad Whoopi Goldberg.

Referring to the colorful Browne coat she wore, Goldberg said that when she first saw it, she thought, “I should be in this because this…he didn’t make it for me, but he made it for me. He makes things for people who want to wear them.” Admitting that some people don’t quite get Browne’s often-offbeat designs, Goldberg continued, “I feel bad for you because you will never feel the joy I have when I wear my Thom Browne coat. I’m gonna do me; screw everyone else. I’m not everyone’s taste. I’m my own taste.” Goldberg added, “You must stand for something and wear your clothes boldly.” Browne, she concluded, “has moved the needle on fashion.”

Goldberg had been welcomed to the stage by FIT President Dr. Joyce F. Browne (it was Browne kind of day). “First of all, you all look fabulous,” she told the crowd, who’d braved chilly wet weather to come, dressed for a party, and given $935,000 to support New York’s premiere fashion museum.

After a standing ovation, Browne admitted, “To follow Whoopi isn’t easy, but I’ll try.” He called the afternoon “an out-of-body experience and “a truly overwhelming honor” from “am amazing museum, and an amazing school” at “an amazing event.” Then, addressing Goldberg, he continued, “When I think of couture, I think of you, a a timeless, truly individual original of the highest quality.”

Addressing his own career, he said, “I didn’t want to be just a designer. I wanted to put ideas in front of people to make them think.” Then, in a moment that touched the crowd deeply, he broke down as he thanked his partner, Andrew Bolton, the Head Curator of the city’s other fashion museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, for being his constant source of inspiration, and called him “the person I love.”

Finally, the luncheon co-chairs Sharon Jacob and Kathy Prounis drew raffle tickets and awarded prized, among them a magnum of Cristal Champagne, which was won by the great fashion photographer Arthur Elgort, one of the few men in the room. Before heading out to the rigors of New York Fashion Week, the well-dressed crowd did a bit of red dahlia=bedecked table-hopping and cheek-kissing. And then, the main event began.


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