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After our stalking, we mean, wait for Blake Lively's fashionably late arrival, we entered the FN Achievement Awards ceremony just in time to for Jessica Alba to proudly announce that TOMS Shoes gave away it's one-millionth pair of shoes this year and present founder Blake Mycoskie with the Brand of the Year award. As she handed the award over, she gave Blake a kiss on the cheek and you could just feel the envy rising from the straight males in the audience.
The boyishly-handsome Blake Mycoskie, (we realized that there were like five Blakes at this ceremony), thanked his staff, excitedly announced that the TOMS crew was going to party afterward and then asked the audience to "hold me and TOMS accountable to remain authentic and humble in everything we do."
As Michael Kors presented the Hall of Fame Award to his "Fashion Fairy Godmother" and industry legend Dawn Mello—to the swelling chorus of "Forever Young" by Alphaville, no less— he reminisced about how Dawn discovered him back in the day. At the tender age of 21 ("a few years ago"), Michael was doing the windows at a store across from Bergdorf. The then president of the department store noticed a positive change in the displays and inquired about this talent who spruced up the windows. The next thing he knew, he was putting a sample line together and voilà, fast forward to his clothing empire and Project Runway judgeship of today. (Maybe Whitney Port could have taken a lesson from him before her presentation to Bergdorf Goodman.)
Charlotte Dellal, creator of Charlotte Olympia and Brit It-Girl, finally had her moment in the spotlight after friend and date Olivia Palermo kind of stole her thunder on the red carpet. She was honored with the Vivian Infantino Emerging Talent award and thanked her parents for "allowing me to follow my dream".
We also need to take this time to give accolades to a couple honorees. First, Sole4Souls, the Philanthropy Award honoree, has mobilized over 100,000 volunteers to distribute over 13 million pairs of shoes to needy people in over 127 countries. Second, we love Hall of Fame award honoree Burt Tansky, the recently retired president and chief executive officer of Neiman Marcus, for saying the immortal words, "Remember, no woman ever has enough shoes."
The finale of the night was reserved for shoe god and Person of the Year Christian Louboutin and of course, his presenter, Blake Lively. Before we describe this peak of a moment, we need to address the issue of people always butchering the pronunciation of "Louboutin". It's not "loo-beh-tahn" like how the editor of FN said it (sorry, sir). It's "lou-bou-tahn" (rhymes with "vous" and "vin"). Anyway.
The crowd went wild when Blake hit the podium (well, as wild as a bunch of industry professionals will get) and she gave an pretty animated and heartfelt introduction. First the Loub devotee allowed, "Like any addict, the first step is admitting a problem." Yeah, we know. She described Louboutin as "majestic" and a "wonderful wizard who understands a woman's soul better than any man." (Ouch. Poor Penn).
If you were already kind of hating Ms. Lively for 1) getting into the V-VIP Christian Louboutin sample sale and 2) buying forty pairs of shoes, well, brace yourselves. As the man of the hour accepted the award, he recounted the story of how Blake visited his Paris atelier. The actress selected some styles and then Christian Louboutin personally delivered the custom samples to Blake's hotel on his Vespa. He thought, "Why not, it's just down the street?" We suppose this is when all the women in the room were seething with jealousy. Then there was a slight Snatch moment toward the end of his speech when everyone in the audience looked a bit quizzical, but it sounded really nice with his French accent. He ended by saying proudly, "I basically understand that I am the Person of the Year."
And with that, there was a mass exodus to coat check. Here is the comprehensive list of awardees:
Person of the Year – Christian Louboutin
Company of the Year – The Jones Group
Designer of the Year – Brian Atwood
Retailer of the Year – Selfridges (UK)
Independent Retailer of the Year – The Tannery (Boston & Cambridge, MA)
Brands of the Year – Toms Shoes and Vibram
Marketer of the Year – Reebok
Launch of the Year – Ivanka Trump
Vivian Infantino Emerging Talent Award – Charlotte Dellal (designer of Charlotte Olympia)
Philanthropy Award – Soles4Souls (for the organization’s extensive work in Haiti and other disaster-stricken areas in 2010)
The 2010 Hall of Fame Inductees:
Dawn Mello – Past president of Bergdorf Goodman & creative director at Gucci
Jack Minuk – Former Nordstrom EVP and General Merchandise Manager
Burt Tansky – Former CEO of Neiman Marcus