It’s not every day that Kanye West gushes about anyone besides himself. But there he was last Thursday, paying homage to Rick Owens, the avant-garde designer from California, at the Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars gala.
“Rick proves for America that we can make real fashion,” Mr. West said onstage at Cipriani Wall Street, wearing a double-denim ensemble. He was joined by Kim Kardashian West in a figure-hugging, Jessica-Rabbit-on-date-night gown.
The 36th annual benefit, which in previous years featured Carolina Herrera in a tango dance and Bob Mackie in the chorus line, has morphed into a glacially paced awards dinner. Among the first to arrive at 6 p.m. was Grace Coddington, the longtime Vogue editor, wearing Louis Vuitton silk pajamas. “I’ll be in bed by 10:01,” she said.
But the 500 guests were still in place after 11 p.m., as Donna Karan accepted an award from Christy Turlington. Also taking turns at the podium were Harold Koda, Laverne Cox, Martha Stewart and Nell Campbell, who presented awards to Ralph Rucci, Iman, Delphine Krakoff and Jonathan Adler.
The Wests were due to hand the Superstar award to Mr. Owens as the grand finale. But to accommodate their schedule (Mr. West would release his ninth studio album, “Jesus Is King,” the following day), their presentation was moved to the middle of the program.
“As usual, they saved the West for last,” Mr. West said, who evidently had not updated his material.
Still, he was positively succinct compared with some other speakers. Brandon Maxwell, a designer known for dressing Lady Gaga, accepted the Fashion Star award from Nina Garcia, the editor of Elle.
“I have many more things to say but I’m definitely over my two-minute period,” Mr. Maxwell said, about 10 minutes into his speech. “Thank you for coming to my TED Talk this evening.”
A Curated Life
The taciturn and introverted designer was all smiles — greeting friends, posing for photographs and even indulging reporters in lengthy conversations — prompting one longtime associate to ask: “What happened to Ralph? Has he been replaced by an alien?”
The occasion was the ballyhooed premiere of “Very Ralph,” an HBO documentary about Ralph Lauren and his fashion legacy. Did Mr. Lauren approve of the film?
“I have seen it before — I thought on the big screen it was fantastic,” said Mr. Lauren, 80, who wore a double-breasted black suit from his collection. “I thought it was very good, or I wouldn’t be here.”
The screening was followed by a party at the Temple of Dendur, where the high-profile guests — Bruce Springsteen, Anna Wintour, Tyson Beckford, Ansel Elgort, Tory Burch, Vera Wang, Karlie Kloss and Michael J. Fox — enjoyed an all-tref buffet of shrimp, oysters and lobster tails.
Mr. Lauren’s impeccably turned-out wife, Ricky, and their children, Andrew, David and Dylan, moved among the crowd like Kennedys at a family wedding.
Martha Stewart reminisced about having a boutique in the same Connecticut store as Mr. Lauren, when both were starting out in the 1970s. She said she owned closets full of his clothes.
The same could not be said for Donna Karan, who has also known Mr. Lauren since the 1970s. “Do I have Ralph at home in my closet?” she said, repeating the question. “In my heart.”
Gossip seekers may be disappointed by the film, which portrays Mr. Lauren’s life as a fantasy of familial bliss resembling one of his advertising spreads. Darker moments, like his surgery to remove a brain tumor, along with other personal setbacks, don’t warrant a mention.
“There are no juicy things in the documentary, there really aren’t,” said Susan Lacy, its director. “Ralph’s not a juicy guy in that way. There’s no scandal, he’s not that kind of subject.”
That interpretation is just fine by Mr. Lauren. “Can people believe there might be people out there who might be honorable? They can’t believe it,” he said. “They won’t be happy unless they find out that I’m a killer or I did something bad.”
But didn’t the film omit important things about his life?
“Yes,” he said. “It left out that I’m charitable, and some more good things.”