It was a glittering evening on Sunday in Paris as the industry gathered to toast the 2023 recipients of the Neiman Marcus Awards — Amina Muaddi, Loewe’s creative director Jonathan Anderson and Brunello Cuccinelli.
The evening kicked off with a small dinner with Neiman’s executives and the designers. At 9 p.m., as the Eiffel Tower sparkled, guests who’d traded Valentino’s modern black for sartorial black tie wound their way up to La Suite Girafe, the terrace perched atop the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine. Not even a malfunctioning elevator could slow the steady stream of arrivals that included Rick Owens, Michele Lamy and “Emily in Paris” stars Ashley Park and Paul Forman.
Neiman Marcus’ chief merchandising officer Lana Todorovich, in a white Rick Owens dress, said she was struck by the symbolism of having a five-year-old brand in Muaddi, Anderson’s 10-year tenure at Loewe and 40 years of Brunello Cucinelli as the honorees for this relaunch edition of the awards. “It’s really special,” she enthused, making her way to the podium with Neiman Marcus Group chief executive officer Geoffroy van Raemdonck.
“Tonight is a celebration of the industry, of creativity and we are so honored to have with us all of you – past and present recipients, future recipients, brand partners friends and influencers in the industry,” said van Raemdonck, noting the “couple hundred billions of revenue” the attendees symbolized “the power, the influence we have here in luxury and how [Neiman Marcus] takes it seriously.”
In the room was Rosita Missoni, who was marking the 50th anniversary of her win, the first international award received by the family company.
For the return of the Neiman Marcus Awards after a six-year absence, van Raemdonck started by calling up Muaddi to present her with the Neiman Marcus Award for Innovation in the Field of Fashion.
Todorovich highlighted the footwear designer’s “extremely beautiful modern expressions and creations” as well as her business acumen.
“It’s not often that an accessories designer gets the same recognition as ready to wear or are perceived as innovators in fashion,” said Muaddi as she received the trophy from the retail executives, taking pride in receiving an award previously handed to women like Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli – an “iconic crew,” in her opinion.
Next up on the stage was Anderson, who scooped the first Neiman Marcus Award for Creative Impact in the Field of Fashion for his work at Loewe.
“It’s like Dallas in Paris,” quipped the designer as he took in the packed room. He went on to say he stood on the stage as an ambassador for his team at Loewe, thanking them as well as LVMH Fashion Group chaiman and CEO Sidney Toledano and Loewe CEO Pascale Lepoivre, who “put up with him on good days and the bad days.”
Cucinelli was the next honoree, presented with the Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion gong bestowed in the past to Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Karl Lagerfeld, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and Yves Saint Laurent.
Todorovich called the Italian entrepreneur “a shining example of what it means to give us all in the business a legacy but also a future we can look up to.”
“Can you hold this,” said Cucinelli in Italian, handing the elegant trophy back to van Raemdonck as he reached for the microphone to explain he’d continue in his native language as English “didn’t allow him to speak from the soul.”
“I would like to dedicate this award to the whole of my family, meaning those who support me,” he continued through a translator, making the room emotional as he recalled how he’d gone to the family plot to share news of his win with his late parents and grandparents and promising to return to show the trophy to them.
The veteran entrepreneur also reminded the audience of his vision of “contemporary capitalism” that hinged on fair profits and a strong belief in sustainability for the environment and in business but most of all, human and spiritual.
As phones and cameras snapped away at the “Instagram moment” of honorees and executives on stage, van Raemdonck paid homage to them as “amazing humans who give a soul and a purpose to the industry,” reminding the crowd to mark their diaries for next year’s awards.
A vision in red, Noah Cyrus then took to the stage, serenading guests with a three-song showcase as they toasted the honorees well into the evening.