It’s not the first time Saks has partnered with Vanity Fair on its grand best-dressed list, which last year included Vice President Joe Biden, Victor Cruz, Prince Harry, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Jane Lauder and Zadie Smith, among others.
This year, the planning entails cocktail parties, lunches, panel discussions, fashion presentations and windows at key Saks stores around the country, as well as an Instagram campaign of best-dressed looks styled by Amy Fine Collins, special correspondent to Vanity Fair. It all culminates with the announcement of this year’s honorees in the October issue of Vanity Fair, which becomes the occasion for more fanfare — another Saks-VF party honoring the winners, past and present.
The International Best-Dressed list was founded by the late Eleanor Lambert in 1940 and was bequeathed to Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter, Aimée Bell, Amy Fine Collins and Reinaldo Herrera in 2002, a year before Lambert died.
“It’s really a coveted list recognizing individual style, taste, natural fashion sensibility, elegance and grace,” said Roopal Patel, Saks Fifth Avenue’s senior vice president and fashion director. “It’s one of the most highly anticipated moments on the global style calendar.”
As the official retailer and exclusive partner of Vanity Fair’s International Best-Dressed List, Saks will kick off the campaign with a series of “best dressed” customer events in some key markets including New York, Boston, Beverly Hills and Bal Harbour, Fla. This Thursday, Saks Boston will have a party for influential patrons of the Hot Pink organization, which supports breast cancer research, prior to the Hot Pink Party on May 1. During the warmup event, Fine Collins will stage a fashion presentation to inspire outfits for the Boston Hot Pink Party.
According to Fine Collins, VF’s best-dressed list is determined by a poll whereby 2,000 ballots are sent out to “people in a position to see fashion worn at its best” including fashion journalists, retailers, alumni of the list, philanthropists, people with “significant social presence,” photographers and people in the beauty business. Up to 12 men and 12 women can be submitted as candidates to make the best-dressed list.
After the ballots come in, they get reviewed by a committee. “The idea is to make sure the list is well-balanced,” with people of different ages, from different parts of the world, of different professions, Fine Collins said. “It’s like creating a nice mix at a dinner party.”
She said after the balloting, which begins this month, the list is narrowed and broken down in categories, such as fashion professionals, couples, royalty, techies, musicians, philanthropists, originals or people with highly individualistic or eccentric style. One thing they all have in common is that they’re people of high visibility, Fine noted.
“It’s a lot of attractive people in interesting fields,” Fine Collins said. “Sometimes it’s not even an attractive person who makes the list, just someone beautifully dressed. It’s also not about how much money people spend on clothes. Some people are quite genius about not spending too much on clothes and some people spend and spend and don’t get anything right.”