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Whoopi Goldberg fetes Thom Browne as a fashion innovator

Honoree Thom Browne attends the 2017 Couture Council Award Luncheon honoring Fashion Designer Thom Browne at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 in New York. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Some of the highlights on Wednesday, the opening day of New York Fashion Week:

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WHOOPI GOLDBERG HONORS THOM BROWNE

Actress and TV host Whoopi Goldberg feted designer Thom Browne at an awards luncheon kicking off Fashion Week, praising him as an innovator who knows fashion is something that makes you feel good — and celebrates individuality.

Browne “makes things for people who WANT to wear them,” Goldberg said. “When you want to wear something, your head is always up.” Wearing a bright orange Browne creation that resembled a floral beach robe, paired with a bright red head covering, Goldberg spoke of times in her life when she herself was made fun of for clothes she chose to wear.

“I wore stuff that worked for me,” Goldberg said. “I’m not everybody’s taste, I’m my own taste.” She said Browne was a designer who represented “the idea that you must be an individual and stand for something.”

Goldberg was presenting Browne with the Couture Council Award for Artistry in Fashion, from the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Browne — known for his whimsical and theatrical fashion shows, but also for the craftsmanship and originality of his clothes — won’t be showing in New York this Fashion Week. He’s moving his womenswear show to Paris, where he already shows his menswear. His move follows that of other top labels like Proenza Schouler, Rodarte and Altuzarra.

Browne is still best known for his menswear, especially his famous signature look of the “shrunken” suit: Pants that end above the ankle (or shorts), a small suit jacket, and especially no socks.

Goldberg said that when Browne debuted that look years ago, “People around the world said, ‘Oh yeah, you’re speaking to me, Thom.'”

Taking his turn at the microphone, Browne described how when he was starting out, he was the only one in New York dressing like he did, and schoolkids would look and say, “It’s Pee-wee Herman!”

Browne teared up when he thanked his life partner, Andrew Bolton, the creator of blockbuster shows at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he is curator. And he committed to continuing to produce fashion that was “timeless, with a clear and individual point of view.”

Among the guests at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center were Brooke Shields and Martha Stewart.

–Jocelyn Noveck

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