By Sharon Clott Kanter
Nov 03, 2015 @ 4:15 pm
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

On Monday night, the Accessories Council held its 19th Annual ACE Awards Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City, one of the biggest events of the year for the industry. The president of the organization, Karen Giberson DiPietro, called the event “the Oscars for Accessories” in her opening remarks, and she wasn’t too far off, as the biggest stars of the accessories world turned out to accept nine different honors, from a Breakthrough Award (Ivanka Trump) to an Evolution Award (Eddie Borgo), to Designer of the Year (John Varvatos).

Over three courses and four hours, InStyle was there as award after award was handed out, each with such excitement and passion for the market. Here are the top five highlights from inside the bash: 

1. Iris Apfel steals the show.
One of the highlights came early in the evening when 94-year-old fashion icon Iris Apfel took the stage to hand out the Legacy Award to Nadja Swarovski for her work leading the Swarovski brand. Apfel made the crowd laugh after she said she “negotiated” with the several stairs to get to the stage itself, and then when she called Swarovski’s children angels “even though I don’t care for children much.” She was also so kind in her speech about Swarovski, calling the award “beautiful like you are.” Not a person in that room didn't swoon for Madame Iris.

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RELATED: 94-Year-Old Iris Apfel Reveals the Dress She'd Wear if She Got Married Again

 2. Taraji P. Henson gives all her Cookie fashion credit to her costume designer.
Empire star Taraji P. Henson and costume designer Paolo Nieddu jointly won the Influencer Award from the Accessories Council, and Henson used the opportunity to boast about how Cookie wouldn’t be Cookie without Nieddu’s magic. “I don’t know what I’d do without you,” she said. “People think I have influence. I say nothing. I’m his muse.” 

3. There was elegance overload with Ivanka Trump and Carolina Herrera on stage together.
Carolina Herrera presented Ivanka Trump with the Breakthrough Award for her solution-oriented accessories and her recently-launched #womenwhowork campaign. Their on-stage exchange was positively lovely. “For me it is a great pleasure giving the ACE Award to the most beautiful businesswoman in the world,” said Carolina Herrera. “This beauty has built an enormously successful brand that represents strong women who thrive on all aspects of their lives, all while maintaining a sense of calm elegance, just like her.” Trump returned with a compliment, of course. “You are the embodiment of a woman who works,” she told Herrera before accepting the honor as a milestone for her brand. 

4. InStyle has a winning moment!
InStyle and People StyleWatch editorial director Ariel Foxman took home the Marylou Luther Journalism Award for his work with InStyle. (Woohoos! Claps! Hoorahs!) His speech focused on his drive to make the magazine valuable. “I’m really fortunate because I have been able to make a successful career path doing what I love to do, which is to report and translate the excitement of fashion to so many American women,” he said, which elicited cheers from the entire room.

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5. Gina Gershon’s big finale.
Gina Gershon presented the final (and biggest) award of the night, Designer of the Year, to John Varvatos. Just off of a flight from Berlin, she left her filter on the plane, and riffed for several minutes about why she loves Varvatos as a rock star in the fashion world and as a friend. Even with all her acclaim for Varvatos, or as she calls him "JV," she did proceed to lodge two complaints. First, make the men’s shoes in smaller sizes so women can fit them, too. (We concur). Second, he’s too busy to spend time with her. No wonder she had so much to say on stage.

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Learn more about the 2015 Accessories Council Excellence Awards winners at