“Two days before the show, I am in a zen mode. Nobody can believe this,” Gabriela Hearst tells Vogue. Indeed she was; seated in a room at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, Hearst appeared free of anxiety as she spoke of her upcoming New York Fashion Week Show and, after that, her final show for Chloé—the end of an era for the French fashion house. “The calmer you are, the more you trust all the hard work that you put in,” she continued, “and then, you release it.”
It’s this trust in self and streamlined intention that got Hearst to where she is today–on this particular day, she was preparing to receive the 2023 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion from The Couture Council of The Museum at FIT. She joins the ranks of honorees that include Maria Grazia Chiuri, Wes Gordon, Christina Louboutin, and more of fashion’s most influential designers.
Hosted at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, the annual gala gathers supporters of the Couture Council and patrons of the fashionable arts—these are attendees who also happen to be VIC (very important customers) to a collection of designers, Hearst included. You’d have lost count of the number of Gabriela Hearst Nina bags in the room. Among the attendees were Martha Stewart, Johanna Ortiz, Bethann Hardison, Elizabeth von der Goltz, and Jamie Nordstrom, who was in from Seattle as Nordstrom presented the event.
At around 12pm, everyone had taken their seats in the resplendent room to enjoy their lunches (poached lobster) and listen to a series of speakers sing the praises of Hearst, who is not only a celebrated designer but a fashion force bringing much-needed awareness to sustainability in fashion. As Dr. Joyce F. Brown, president of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), told the room, “Her unwavering commitment to sustainability, what she calls ‘honest luxury,’ has really informed her designs throughout her career…she is an example for our FIT students that sustainability is not just a concept, but a very personal theme that they can infuse in all of their designs.”
Before Hearst accepted her award, she was introduced to the room by two friends, tennis superstar Maria Sharapova and Eleven Madison Park’s chef Daniel Humm. In her heartfelt address, Sharapova said, “I think we got along from the very beginning because you train like an athlete—you train your mind and your body, every single day, to show up for so many people in your life and for so many women around the world.”
Drawing parallels between the culinary and fashion worlds, Daniel lauded Gabriela’s creativity, resilience, and ability to thrive in an ever-changing landscape; “It’s about the quality of ingredients and the mastering of a craft, and we work with the schedule of the seasons.”
Hearst, deeply moved by the honor, shared her thoughts with the audience, emphasizing the importance of perseverance and hard work. She inspired the aspiring students, saying, “For the students, I want to leave you all with one piece of advice… stay the course, even if it’s impossible, but don’t believe the hype. It’s all about the work.”