I have known Fern Mallis for more than a decade now. For those whose memories need to be refreshed a little bit, Fern was the Executive Director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and she is the one who created and nurtured the New York Fashion Week and made it as big and prestigious as it is today. No one can stake claim on this but her. And she has been instrumental in creating several other fashion weeks elsewhere in the world besides contributing to several other fashion related events in the United States.
And when I heard about the Lifetime Achievement Award being bestowed to her by Pratt Institute and seeing Calvin Klein presenting the same to her, I thought, “here’s one lady who truly deserve this recognition.”
Fern’s contribution to the world of fashion lay in the fact that she always has been bold enough to call a spade a spade. I always sit next to her whenever she comes (read all the time) she comes to attend the Lakme Fashion Week in the capacity as a SVP of IMG Worldwide. Even as Lakme Fashion Week is a jointly organised with IMG, when some bad collection hits the runway she would look at me and say, “can you believe this! I wonder who let this collection come here in the first place!” And I had seen a red-faced Fern sitting at 10-am shows and telling me, “look at the front row of the media side, how could the editors not turn up to see these young designers’ shows!” I think this brutal honesty and dedication and of course her passion is what paved the way for her to reach where she is today (of course without any brand or company logo having to back her) and get this recognition.
Fern loves Indian designers. I know she wears a lot of them while at prestigious cocktails and dinners in the US. She always got angry when she ordered something and our guys here failed to deliver it to her. She always advises Indian designers and guides them towards the global path. Her contribution to Indian fashion for over a decade has been immense.
On all counts she deserves to be where she is today… And the award is well deserved for a lady who still stand tall in the world of fashion.