Sister publications Variety and WWD joined forces Thursday afternoon at a luncheon to fete its inaugural joint media venture, StyleMakers, a glossy print publication celebrating the fusion of fashion and entertainment, or, as New York-bred clothing designer Zac Posen dubbed the phenomenon, “fashion-tainment.”
Posen was one of seven style mavens honored with a StyleMaker Award at the Nov. 19 Smashbox Studios event, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz and Caesarstone. Variety co-Editor-in-Chief Claudia Eller and WWD West Coast Bureau Chief Marcy Medina kicked off the stellar two-hour ceremony with opening remarks hailing the creative marriage of runway and red carpet.
The other honorees were Freida Pinto, actress and longtime supporter of charitable fashion initiatives; “Scandal” costume designer Lyn Paolo; celebrity stylist Elizabeth Stewart; hair stylist Jen Atkin, who coifs the heads of red carpet fixtures such as Reese Witherspoon and Kourtney Kardashian (who was on hand to give Atkin her award); estimable makeup artist Lisa Eldridge; and iconic fashion photographer Matthew Rolston.
Through award presentations by Viola Davis, Kelsey Grammer and Katie Holmes, who gushed about Posen’s “majestic runway shows,” and a series of Q&As — including one with Variety’s Executive Editor of TV Debra Birnbaum in conversation with Paolo and “Scandal” heroine Kerry Washington — guests dined on such delectable edibles as ruby red grapefruit salad and olive oil-poached chicken breasts. Chilled Chloe Prosecco added a stylish touch to the three-course meal.
“Our show isn’t about fashion for fashion’s sake,” said Paolo of the series’ oft-coveted costumes, namely those of Washington’s protagonist Olivia Pope. “It’s a show about real people.”
In a backstage conversation between Posen and Holmes, close friends as well as fashion aficionados, Posen told Variety’s Style Editor Jasmin Rosemberg that “fashion doesn’t have to be so serious.”
But perhaps the afternoon’s most inspiring moment was when Posen, who used to steal yarmulkes from his grandparents’ synagogue to make ballgowns for his dolls, told the crowd that while he may be one of the most successful designers working today in fashion, not all things have come easy to him: “I was dyslexic and couldn’t read.”