The fourth annual WWD Honors kicked off Tuesday evening in Manhattan, with a cocktail hour and dinner paired with the awards portion of the night. Giorgio Armani was recognized with the John B. Fairchild honor; Stella McCartney was awarded this year’s Corporate Citizenship award; Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino was awarded the honor for Women’s Wear Designer of the Year; and Kim Jones of Dior the honor for Men’s Wear Designer of the Year, among other honorees.
Toasting the honorees were Iman, Drew Barrymore, Emmy Rossum, Hilary Rhoda, Olivia Palermo, Kate Young, Vera Wang, Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Laura Brown, Emily Bode and more.
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“Oh, my God, I feel like we were born from the same egg!” McCartney said of her date for the evening, Barrymore. The designer said her approach to dressing women on the red carpet has remained consistent throughout her career.
“I want women to feel really, really good about themselves when they’re wearing Stella. It’s never really veered off that,” McCartney said. “I try to accommodate confidence and let them say who they are through what they’re wearing. As a designer and as a female designer, it’s important for me to not dress women but for them to wear my clothes themselves.”
Rhoda was dressed in Stella for the night, and championed the designer’s commitment to sustainability.
“She really pioneered that in this industry a long time ago, before anyone else was thinking about that,” Rhoda said. “She’s helped changed this industry.”
Her first time wearing the designer was when she was around 19 years old, walking her runway show in Paris.
“She wanted us to smile, and that did not happen then — things were very serious,” Rhoda said. “But she wanted us to smile and look happy on the runway, which was very different.”
Hilton Rothschild wore Valentino for the night and came running back to the red carpet once Mr. Piccioli arrived to embrace him.
“I just think he has the most beautiful eye,” she said of Piccioli. “No one does couture like him.” The socialite chose a Valentino gown for her wedding day in 2015, a process she said took five to six fittings to complete.
“The Valentino team joked that my dress had more air miles than [anyone],” she said. “But that was the most fun part of the whole wedding thing: the fittings. Having an excuse to go to Paris!”
Though he was home in Milan under the weather, Mr. Giorgio Armani’s praises were sung on the red carpet by the many who had come to honor him.
“Strength. Femininity. Class. Ease,” Rossum said of what the brand name signifies to her. Her standout Armani moment was the red dress she wore to the Golden Globes in 2016. “It was between two dresses and the other one was purple and beaded, and I went with the red, ultimately, because it was so strong and simple, just a simple column dress,” Rossum said. “Armani’s tailoring is just impeccable and always makes me feel incredibly strong.”
“I love Armani Nineties minimalism,” Young said. “I’ve been buying tons of Armani suits on The RealReal. I feel like all the trendy brands are just doing old Armani, and it feels so right. The fabric is amazing the quality is amazing, the tailoring is so beautiful.”
“I haven’t known him but I have been an editor, so I definitely went to his shows in Milan,” Wang said. “He’s one of the pioneers of modern clothing. I mean he deconstructed a jacket, which no one had ever done before him. He worked in a palette that was very Milanese.”
“The name Armani signifies to me continued luxury in both the men’s wear and women’s wear market,” Bode said. “I think it’s often hard to sustain, and Armani has continued to sustain that.”
Launch Gallery: 4th Annual WWD Honors Cocktail