Last night, God’s Love We Deliver — the city’s leading provider of medically tailored meals for people living with severe illness — hosted its annual Golden Heart Awards Gala with Michael Kors. The charity launched in 1985 at the height of the AIDS crisis, and Kors himself started volunteering with it soon after. At the venue, a skyscraper off the West Side Highway with a great view of New Jersey, the designer, in his signature black suit and aviators, tall and tan and gregarious, fistbumped me before sitting down for an interview. (Was he a hugger pre-pandemic? “Well, I’m a New Yorker, so I’m touchy.”)
We talked about his latest collection, which was inspired by 1977 New York and designers like Halston and Stephen Burrows who “celebrated freedom of the body.” Noting that fashion these days seems to be mostly stuff from the past, I asked Kors if there’s an accessory he absolutely dreads to see return. “I think the thing about fashion is to say, ‘Oh, that’s so horrible.’ But for me it’s always, how do you put it together? How do you wear it?”
Although he doesn’t name a specific accessory, Kors admits that he hates it “when people wear clothes that don’t fit them. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing something oversized. Is it the right oversized? If you’re wearing something bodycon, is it the right bodycon? I think everyone should forget the size label on clothes. Buy what makes you feel like your best self.”
Does that mean his style philosophy boils down to a good tailor? “Honestly, it’s about being self-aware. If you love your legs and everyone’s showing ankle-length skirts, to hell with them. If you are a flat shoes kind of girl, well, it doesn’t matter if everyone’s in stilettos, do your flat shoes. Also: Be a little bit more thoughtful when you buy something. It’s better for the planet, you’ll be able to get dressed in an expedient way, and you’ll always feel good about what you’re wearing.”
I am now, of course, self-conscious about my own outfit, and I ask him if my dress fits, to which he says, “It looks fantastic,” with a placating wave.
After the style lesson from Kors, we move on to dinner. The evening was emceed by Billy Porter, the kind of charismatic speaker who could make reading a nutrition label sound inspiring. He made several jokes, mostly at the expense of Bemelmans (which hosted the cocktail hour) and how expensive its drinks are.
After Porter’s intro, the evening moved into speeches by celebrities and honorees; the best was Frieda Pinto’s introduction of Huma Abedin, which doubled as a plug for the series she’s developing on the former political staffer’s memoir, in which she is (you guessed it) playing Abedin.
After these, an accent in a velvet coat ran the auction; the hottest thing on offer seemed to be a dinner with Alan Cumming as bartender. All told, the evening raised more than $3 million for 300,000 meals for the charity’s clients. Below, I’ve ranked the event on a scale of one to ten martinis.
It was a fairly star-studded evening. Honorees included Jessica Alba, Bella Hadid, and Huma Abedin, all seated around Anna Wintour, who was the honorary co-chair of the event. Celebrities were gathered at a table in the center of the room and were attended to by the hottest waiters (this “was not by design,” one of the hot waiters said when questioned.)
Hadid was accompanied by her boyfriend, who seemed nice and quiet and normal; a few seats down was Yolanda Hadid, who passed her daughter a heavy camel coat halfway through the dinner (it was cold in there) and wept through Bella’s speech, which stressed the importance of attending to one’s mental health.
Also present: a few of Princess Diana’s nieces; various socialites, including Nicky Hilton Rothschild and Blaine Trump (it is still weird to have a Trump at an event, though Blaine technically divorced out of the family ten years ago); as well as actors David Burtka and Neil Patrick Harris, the latter of whom stood up on his chair during the auction for no apparent reason. Elsewhere, Leandra Medine continued soft launching her return to society at a table full of Housewives and TikTokers. 7 martinis.
Lea Michele, hot off her Funny Girl coup, performed “People” and really did have the “voice of an angel,” as one onlooker said. The magnetic thing about a Lea Michele performance is less about how good she is, and more about her obvious satisfaction and absolute confidence in her own massive talent. The Earl Rose trio performed during the cocktail hour, so it was nice to hear them without paying a $1 million cover charge. 6 martinis.
Food & Drink
Bemelmans ran the cocktail hour, so drinks were excellent, and little tables held trays of the bar’s signature nibbles. Elsewhere, there were squeeze bottles of crème fraîche, and waiters dispensed caviar-topped blinis. Dinner was short rib, lukewarm because it arrived a bit late, but still fairly good. Luckily, there were cups of almonds at each table, which one attendee speculated was a nod to Yolanda’s recent almond-centric controversy. 6 martinis.
It was a big night for sequins. Most honorees were in Michael Kors Collection: Billy Porter stole the show in a black pussy-bow blouse and pinstripe suit, Bella Hadid and Lea Michele glittered in gold-sequin gowns, and Paloma Elsesser was quietly resplendent in an understated black slit tank dress accented with the metallic, Elsa Perrettian accessories that characterized Kors’s latest collection.
Wait staff wore the signature scarlet blazers of a Bemelmans bartender, which are pretty ugly, but we have to applaud Bems for its commitment to the bit. 8 martinis.
For a while the chatter around me focused on what Anna and Lea Michele, who were seated next to each other, could possibly be talking about. A colleague later suggested that the latter was shooting her shot for a Vogue cover, which, given the ebullience Michele was bringing to the conversation, seems like a safe bet. 5 martinis.