This isn’t Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s first New York fashion week in office, but we’ll let last season’s lack of participation slip. The man had only been sworn in just a few weeks prior. Now, eight months into his tenure, the mayor has had a bit more time to strategize a vision, enlist allies, and execute a plan—and it’s an ambitious one. Last night, fashion’s heavy hitters were summoned to Yorkville for a cocktail party at Gracie Mansion officially kicking off the week’s festivities and announcing three new initiatives out of City Hall: a NYC Capsule Collection to help local designers produce and sell locally; an expanded “Made in NYC” branding program; and the first two Fashion Production Fund awards given to Karolina Zmarlak and Rosie Assoulin.
Part of the fun was getting to snoop around Gracie Mansion. Fashion rarely heads so far uptown, let alone to the mayor’s home, so the night nearly felt like a group field trip. “There’s lawn bowling out on the lawn!” said Tanya Taylor, “and I think the mayor is meeting in a back room with some important people.” Rebecca Minkoff was equally thrilled: “I mean, we go to parties all the time, but as soon as I started walking up the steps here, it just hit me: I’ve got to get it together, this is Gracie.”
Having worked with two mayors in City Hall now, the CFDA’s Steven Kolb had only good things to say about De Blasio. “In this regard the two men [De Blasio and Michael Bloomberg] have more similarities than differences. Both are extremely eager to work with us and understand that fashion is really a central part of this city’s economy and identity.” No kidding—Kolb pointed out that fashion employs 180,000 New Yorkers. “I think the fact that we are kicking the week off at Gracie Mansion says a lot about [De Blasio’s] enthusiasm,” Kolb added.
Perhaps the most enthusiastic guest last night was Chiara de Blasio, who, in the face of a fashion emergency (her father shared that she was unable to find a suitable lipstick for the occasion), decided to mix her own cerulean lipstick at home. As for the mayor himself, his fashion emergencies are of a much more ordinary nature. He told Style.com: “I have a habit of stopping at whatever deli or bodega looks interesting, then hopping back in the car on the phone. A few ties and shirts have suffered along the way…food of all nations plus the phone plus driving is probably not the smartest thing.”