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What I Wore to the 2014 Vanidades Icons of Style Awards – AND a Recap of the Event!

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On Thursday evening, I had the honor of attending the Icons of Style awards hosted by Vanidades, a beloved Spanish-language fashion, beauty, and lifestyle magazine that I grew up reading (my mom had a subscription when I was a child in Puerto Rico) and which, to a great extent, probably lured me into both a career in publishing and, later, a more acute focus on fashion. The dinner and awards ceremony was held in the lavish ballroom of New York City’s Mandarin Oriental hotel, which overlooks Columbus Circle and, moreover, Central Park.

The space was decorated  to perfection, with each roundtable covered with a dark magenta tablecloth in a satin-like finish and, at the center of each table, various vases filled with lush hydrangeas, peonies, roses, and dahlias in  shades of fuchsia, magenta, vibrant yellow, and blood red – each floral type clustered in its own vase for maximum effect. At the front of the room, meanwhile, the stage was decorated so that the back wall was a dark plum-tinged magenta shade, its entire surface adorned with oversize floral illustrations in fuchsia and, atop it all, the word “Vanidades” spelled out in white capital letters. The right side of the stage, meanwhile, featured a podium and two tables: one, a Wittnaeur station  with black-and-white gift bags containing luxurious diamond-encrusted watches, each timepiece featuring the corresponding award recipient’s name engraved along the back of the case; and the other a Moet & Chandon table with oversize champagne bottles, each featuring a recipient’s name spelled out in crystals along the front, directly atop the bottle’s label.

Guests were treated to a lovely dinner, romantic Spanish music by an original band (complete with congas and maracas), and the best wine and champagne (courtesy of event sponsor Moet & Chandon). After the entrée course, Lili Estefan and Raúl De Molina, the duo behind Univision’s El Gordo y la Flaca took to the stage to kick off the awards portion of the evening. Saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera presented the Icon of Style Award for Excellence in Lifestyle to Chef Douglas Rivera, who is widely considered the godfather of Nuevo Latino cuisine.  Next, the incredibly talented footwear designer Edmundo Castillo presented the Icon of Style Award for Fashion Modeling & Humanitarianism to Dominican supermodel Arlenis Sosa and the ever charming Kelly Rutherford (known as Lily Van der Woodsen on Gossip Girl and, previously, as Megan Lewis on Melrose Place) presented the Icon of Style Award for the Arts award to Domingo Zapata, who many have dubbed this generation’s Andy Warhol.

Other award recipients included: Devious Maids star Roselyn Sanchez, who was presented with the Mujer Vanidades Award; soap opera star, international music sensation, fashion and housewares designer, mother, and overall powerhouse Thalía, who received the Icon of Style Award for Music & Entertainment; the über-talented, CFDA-winning fashion designer and fragrance mastermind Narciso Rodriguez, who was presented with the Iconic Man of Style Award; and groundbreaking West Side Story actress Rita Moreno, who received the Iconic Woman of Style Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition to the honorees, plenty of A-list names were in attendance, among them fashion designers Catherine Malandrino, Alvin Valley, Carlos Campos, Fabiola Arias, and Maria Cornejo; actresses Selenis Levya and Dascha Polanco of Orange is the New Black; footwear designer Edmundo Castillo; and  In the Heights producer Lin Manuel Miranda. And, of course, me! Just kidding — I’m clearly not an A-list name, but give me time!

It was a lovely evening in which Latino movers and shakers gathered together to celebrate and pay homage to the many trailblazers, past and present, within our community.

Given that it was a red carpet event and a very lavish ceremony, I had to dress accordingly, so I opted for a floor-length, one shoulder Laundry by Shelli Segal gown with an asymmetrical neckline. The gown had a fairly simple silhouette, but what drew me to it was the bold red color (I’ve always abided by Bill Blass’ famous motto, “When in doubt, wear red”),  the intricate beading along the neckline (which you can see clearly in the second photo above, taken as I made my way to the venue), and the dramatic side slit.

Since I’m so petite, I knew I had to pull out a truly high pair of heels, so I opted for a pair of BCBGMAXAZRIA shoes with mirrored gold metallic straps. I kept the jewelry minimal, choosing a pair of sculptural BCBGMAXAZRIA flower-shaped earrings with clear crystals encrusted into each petal formation, and slipping on two statement rings: an Amrita Singh shield ring with a caged motif on one hand and a Lia Sophia piece on the other. As for my clutch, I went with a classic camel-toned, envelope-shaped Calvin Klein clutch with vertical gold metallic stripes that lend it a glamorous sheen. The clutch is pretty roomy, plus it has a handy gold-toned shoulder strap chain for when you want to keep your hands free.

Check out the photos of my evening look above and take a look at the décor and some of the celebrity attendees in the snaps below!

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