ABBOUD’S HONOR: What do Salvador Dalí, Tennessee Williams, Eleanor Roosevelt and Joseph Abboud have in common? They’re all Medal of Honor recipients from the National Arts Club.
When Abboud receives his award in March, it will mark the first time in the organization’s 125-year history that a menswear designer will be honored. Several women’s designers have also been singled out by the group including Patricia Field, Narciso Rodriguez and Anna Sui.
Abboud will receive his award on March 22 at 6 p.m. at the landmarked Tilden Mansion, the home of the NAC, at 15 Gramercy Park South in New York.
“Joseph Abboud is a true American icon and is the first designer of menswear to receive the prestigious National Arts Club Medal of Honor in Fashion,” said David Zyla, co-chair of the club’s fashion committee. “Abboud has inspired and guided men for decades in their sartorial choices, empowering them with his sumptuous color palettes and masterful use of tailoring.”
“How wonderful to be receiving The National Arts Club’s Medal of Honor,” Abboud said. “To be in the company of the many distinguished recipients of the club’s 125-year history is a very special personal milestone in my career. There is something magical when fashion and art embrace, and to be the first menswear designer recognized by this extraordinary organization dedicated to the arts is truly an honor I’ll always cherish.”
Speakers for the Medal of Honor evening will include actor Chazz Palminteri and TV anchor and journalist Ernie Anastos. The event will also feature a pop-up exhibition comprising 18 outfits from the Joseph Abboud archives presented on hand-painted mannequins.
Boston native Abboud studied comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts and attended the Sorbonne in Paris. His fashion career started in 1968 at Louis Boston where he spent 12 years. He then joined Polo Ralph Lauren as director of menswear design before launching his own brand in 1987. The brand changed hands several times over the years and is now owned by the brand marketing firm WHP Global. Abboud is no longer involved.
Over the course of his career the designer has received many awards and is the only designer to have received two consecutive CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year awards, in 1989 and 1990. He also received the Special Achievement Award from The Neckwear Association of America in 1994, the Cutty Sark Award for Most Promising Menswear Designer in 1988 and the Woolmark Award for Distinguished Fashion in 1989 and 1993.
The National Arts Club Medal of Honor is awarded to leaders in their respective fields, from fine art and fashion to dance, theater and music. The organization was founded in 1898 to stimulate, foster and promote public interest in the arts. — JEAN E. PALMIERI
SCHOOL IS IN: To capture the carefree collegiate vibe of its spring collection, Longchamp has tapped British photographer Elaine Constantine for its latest campaign, unveiled Monday.
Set in Paris’ prestigious Lycée Henri IV, the images show high-spirited students dressed in bright yellow blousons, crop tops, varsity jackets and zesty dresses, with sparkle thrown in.
This solar mood is what Longchamp’s creative director Sophie Delafontaine wanted and the reason why she called on Constantine.
A BAFTA-nominated writer, director and photographer, Constantine is known for her colorful depiction of confident and cheerful young women that have appeared in many fashion publications since the ’90s.
Her images have been displayed at The Photographers’ Gallery in London and the Victoria and Albert Museum, while the National Portrait Gallery has two of her portraits in its permanent collection.
“What interested me in her work is the energy and joy that exude from her images, as these two things are very important for us at Longchamp,” she said. “She captures energy through movement and for us, the Longchamp woman is one in motion, who is active, dynamic and does many things.”
Constantine is also “a rare photographer who knows how to capture women who are smiling and laughing without falling into cute or romantic notions,” she added.
For the campaign film, also by Constantine, the soundtrack, the 1995 anthem “Alright” by British alt-rock band Supergrass, further leans into this sunny direction.
“From the first bars of the track, it puts a smile on your face,” Delafontaine said. “But what was also important for Elaine and I was for those looking at the picture to feel they want — and can — be part of this gang. As long as you want to laugh, have fun and be yourself, you’re in.”
Models Alexis Sundman, Britt Herik, Rayssa Ricardo, Tiffany Guo, Zoe Petit and Feranmi Ayeni feature in the global campaign. On the Asian market, images feature the brand’s South Korean ambassador Kim Se-Jeong.
The cast is a nod to Delafontaine’s seasonal narrative of young women from different horizons heading to Paris, connecting over their shared “Parisian woman spirit, a little independent, sometimes a little impertinent,” she said.
“We are fortunate to have a part that’s extremely young, in high school,” she continued.
Recently, the brand has garnered increasing social cachet among young women, with classic Longchamp shapes seeing a resurgence on TikTok with sorority girls popularizing the nylon Pliage style as their “rush bags.” Delafontaine noted a sizable proportion of its clientele was still of high school age.
But although the campaign also reflects the brand’s youthful clientele — who are under 40 years old globally, according to Delafontaine — she was adamant that it was “more a philosophy and a state of mind that I’m talking about rather than an age.” — LILY TEMPLETON