Tom Ford! The Weeknd! WSJ. Magazine Honors Innovators at Annual Gala

by Sydney Sadick

Innovators in art, design, food, philanthropy, architecture, film, and music united last night for one of the most star-studded events of the year: WSJ. Magazine‘s Innovators Gala. Its editors selected seven trailblazers to be honored at the 6th annual gala before an intimate crowd of 200, which as always, was fashion-fueled. This year’s honorees, all of whom are featured in the magazine’s November issue, included Ai Weiwei (Art), presented by Sir Nicholas SerotaEs Devlin (Design), from Julie TaymorDaniel Humm and Will Guidara (Food), who were presented by Daniel BouludMelinda Gates (Philanthropy), honored by Lauren Bush Lauren; and Craig Dykers and Kjetil Traedal Thorsen (Architecture), presented by Laurie Anderson. Fashion designer-turned-director Tom Ford was also recognized for his work, and took home the Film award, presented by Academy Award-winning actor Colin Firth, who starred in A Single Man, the 2009 blockbuster that Ford directed.

“When I met Tom, I was a bit too round and brown. Since then, I don’t dress the same, I don’t smell the same, I don’t think I act the same, and I don’t see film or art and architecture the same way I used to. Tom can’t help but project beauty onto things, onto people. I think that’s perhaps why those who know him root for him,” Firth said in his speech. We asked Ford, who flew to NYC for the day, what his reaction was when he found out he was going to be honored. “I was very excited. I love the word ‘innovator’—it wasn’t necessarily the word I [use] wake up in the morning and say, ‘I’m an innovator.’ But I always do wake up in the morning and ask, What can I do today that’s fresh and stay excited for what I’m doing? So if that’s innovation, I’m very proud of it. It’s a great honor to be here with so many people who are truly innovative,” he told The Daily.

All eyes (and cameras) were also on WSJ. Magazine‘s November cover star The Weeknd (a.k.a. Abel Tesafaye), who was presented an award in Music by supermodel Naomi Campbell. The pair met—where else?—on set of an American Vogue shoot with Mario Testino. “I immediately became a huge fan of his and very quickly looked at him as a brother. Abel is ambitious and confident enough to want to reshape music…mixing classic songwriting with something a bit darker, edgier, and always delivers it with an irresistible swagger,” Campbell said in her speech. The Weeknd accepted by thanking many of the men who inspire him—Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Kanye West, Timbaland, Daft Punk, Pink Floyd, Whitney Houston, and Marvin Gaye, to name a few. “Hopefully I can inspire people the way they’ve inspired me. I won’t take any of this for granted,” the singer said at the end of his speech, with his new single, Starboy, playing in the background and Naomi on deck to pose with her pal.

Other notables included WSJ. Magazine‘s editor-in-chief Kristina O’NeillKarlie KlossAlexander WangLiya KebedeImaan HammamDerek BlasbergMartha HuntGiovanna Battaglia EngelbertEva ChenDavid NevilleGucci Westman NevillePhillip LimTao OkamotoLauren Santo Domingo, and Carlos Souza. Until next year!

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