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Awards in Store for Paul Smith, Donna Karan, and Oscar de la Renta

Three fashion designers are clearing space on their shelves for a virtual cornucopia of awards. First up is that wizard of stripes, Paul Smith (that’s “Sir Paul,” as of 2000), whose vast retail empire one cannot truly appreciate without visiting Japan. On Monday, Smith will receive the outstanding achievement award at the British Fashion Awards in London. The special award celebrates the achievement of a designer whose work “has had an exceptional impact on global fashion,” according to the British Fashion Council, which has previously honored Smith as an exceptional menswear designer (1997/1999), classic designer (2001), and contemporary designer (2003).

Meanwhile, back on our shores, Parsons The New School for Design is gearing up to honor one of its own. Donna Karan, who famously failed draping (apparently the second time was the charm), will be recognized along with philanthropist Sheila Johnson at the 2012 Parsons Fashion Benefit on May 1. “Parsons gave me my start in the industry, and to be able to support future designers is incredibly important to me,” said Karan in a statement issued by the school. “I am particularly excited to be honored with Sheila, who has been so instrumental to the success of Parsons, as well as to celebrate the first graduating class of the new MFA in Fashion Design and Society.” The new graduate program was made possible by the endowed Donna Karan Professorship.

Another design legend will get his due from the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Couture Council, which will honor Oscar de la Renta with its 2012 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion. Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at FIT, describes the designer as “a true fashion superstar who has long served as one of the greatest ambassadors of American style. His clothes, which draw on the heritage of Spain and the French haute couture, as well as on the dynamism of contemporary New York high fashion, convey a sense of luxury and drama that have earned him acclaim throughout the world.” De la Renta will receive the award at a luncheon in September.

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