While most of the fashion and accessories industry is either still in some stage of summer vacation, the ACE Awards held its 26th annual awards to honor individuals and companies who led the market segment. The ceremony was at Cipriani 42nd street, which has been home to the awards ceremony for at least two decades.
A new award for Global Style Icon was given to J Balvin, the Colombian singer aka ‘Prince of Reggaeton’, who is one of the best-selling Latin music artists selling more than 35 million records worldwide. He was awarded his honor by Reggie Saunders, Global Vice President of Entertainment Marketing for the Jordan brand, who recalled their Nike shoe partnership. Balvin has become a regular fashion fixture on the men’s show circuit, notably dressing in Dior, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Givenchy, among others.
Mario Cantone had the audience in chuckles when he presented Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago, Costume Designers, with the Style Influencers award along with his And Just Like That co-stars Sarita Choudhury and Karen Pittman. Like its predecessor, Sex and The City, the show emphasizes highly accessorized fashion.
Josie Natori, most commonly associated with her lingerie line, was awarded the Hall of Fame award presented by long-time retail partner Ron Frasch. The seasoned retail consultant was among the first to pick up Natori’s line when it debuted 45 years while he worked at Saks Fifth Avenue. The last award of the night, Natori, who noted she had recently turned 75, said she would be brief but offered some sage advice. “You shouldn’t go into the fashion business unless you really love it; there are easier ways to make money,” she told the audience, noting clearly it was her passion.
British retailer Kurt Geiger London won the brand of the year for the on-trend, unabashedly bold accessory lines, which pack style and quality into moderately priced goods. British model Abwoa Aboah and current Kurt Geiger campaign star flew into New York to present the creative team Rebecca Farrar-Hockley and Steven Sousa.
Other poignant moments included Victor Glemaud’s award for Breakthrough designer. His mother presented the award given due to his recent eyewear collaboration with Tura, which references his colorful knitwear designs. Glemaud thanked the women who had made his career possible. Wearing a Planned Parenthood t-shirt under his black suit, Glemaud suggested that he and other men should also support and join in the fight for women’s right to choose.
Veronica Swanson and Veronica Miele Beard, the sister-in-law duo behind the launch award given to Veronica Beard for adding shoes to their lifestyle brand, fanned over Legacy brand winners Vera Bradley’s
Other winners included Rimowa for Brand Excellence presented by frequent traveler Brian Kelly The Points Guy; Retailer of the Year was awarded to Moda Operandi; Author Gary Shteyngart presented Ben Clymer, CEO of Hodinkee, the Visionary award; while model Coco Rocha presented LensCrafters with the Retail Innovation award.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our industry than I have been over the last few years. They have handled so many challenges gracefully,” says Karen Giberson, President, and CEO of the Accessories Council. “It’s so nice to return to in-person networking and specifically, on the occasion of the ACE Awards, to be able to celebrate this year’s exciting roster of honorees.”