To get the opportunity to listen to the wise words of Norma Kamali and Diane von Furstenberg in one sitting is pretty spectacular. Throw the young, talented, and eager Prabal Gurung into the mix, and you've got one entertaining evening.
Last night I stopped by the NY Times for a very fashionable edition of its TimesTalks series, moderated by style reporter Eric Wilson. Kamali, von Furstenberg, Gurung and Fern Mallis sat on the panel. The main topic of the evening was the Fashion Center Sidewalk Catwalk, that 30-odd row of incredibly inventive mannequins in the Garment Center. Those mannequins will subsequently be auctioned off, with the proceeds going towards art supplies for city kids who might not have them otherwise.
Each designer discussed the inspiration behind his or her mannequin--DvF's wanted hers to represent a feline female, Prabal paid homage to Alexander McQueen, Kamali considered technology and communications--but the conversation soon moved on to each designer's thoughts on Twitter, branding, and yes, success.
On Twitter: Kamali, who's very into her iPhone, says she's not the hugest fan of Twitter, but she likes to use blogging as a platform. Prabal talked about how Demi Moore's tweet about one of his dresses changed his life. DvF said that anytime you write the word "love" on Twitter it garners quite a bit of attention. (Although we're sure everything DvF says garners attention.)
On Having a Signature Piece: DvF: "You don't choose what your signature is going to be. Just like you only know something's an It Bag when it's It!" Kamali, whose signature is undoubtedly her sleeping bag coat, agrees. The reason DvF's wrap and Kamali's sleeping bag both work so well? They were developed out of necessity.
On Different Kinds of Success: DvF and Kamali run two very different empires; Prabal is just now building his. The key to everything? Authenticity. Instead of trying to be something or someone else, each of these designers have been recognized for being distinctly original.
Were you at the talk? I'd love to hear what your favorite moments were in the comments below.