Up the stairs, and turning the corner toward me is Nawal and her husband, Mohammed, who have come to the US for the first time, for THIS. I throw my arms around them, jubilant that not only her gorgeous embroidery is being celebrated this evening, but that SHE is here to be celebrated. I turn and see Zolaykha in her red Afghan jacket aglow next to her formidable Peace Coat on prominent display. Friend of 20 years, Meryanne arrives from Marrakech - she has come all this way to grace our opening. My goddaughter, Betsy, gives me a squeeze - she and her mother have driven nine hours from Maine after their flight was canceled so that she could model for our affair. Becca swishes by in her long red dress looking devastating, the face of Ibu in our Charlotte Moss campaign, flying from Charleston with us to not only rock the camera but first roll up her sleeves and rock the steaming detail for a day without end. Carolyne Roehm slips upstairs to change into the collection’s highlight cocktail dress and, in short order, snow the crowd. And then I see the one who made this whole evening happen. Charlotte Moss ascends the stairs and begins to greet the many who have come out to honor her and her lifelong service and brilliance. The one who designed this collection now debuting. The one who said Yes to my invitation to make the world more beautiful.
Each week, I celebrate right here the world-wide web of artisans who craft the sublime for Ibu. But there are others among us who artfully craft the world of Ibu. On this night, Michael McGraw oversees the stellar catering staff, the perfect lighting, the music and gifts and so much more. Kimberly Power choreographs all unseen details as if by magic, arranges leaves and flowers, tablecloths, packages . . . And the Ibu team that has come from Charleston, slept restlessly next to all-night jackhammers, given themselves over to days of tireless work . . . they are here looking ebullient tonight. Marisa has merchandised the whole affair with her massively creative eye, Jamie has tagged and sewn labels on last minute arrivals and tracked countless lost packages and Mollie has steamed and run for coffee too many times to count and Austin has directed crews and assembled racks and overseen the overseers. You could say that they get paid. But I tell you no one could pay them enough to work this hard, to overcome every obstacle that mounts as the day goes on, to keep working until bleary eyed and get up the next day to do it again. Only love could do that. And passion. And commitment. They are also the artisans that craft the world of Ibu.
There are moments when one pauses to feel the change. To measure the moment, to realize how far we have grown as a movement, and to say thanks to all the hands that serve it. This, I realize, as I turn to see the face of my husband ascending the stairs, fresh off the plane from his busy day . . . this is one of those moments.
After our grand opening, the team gathers the next day to schlep everything across the street to The Pierre for a week-long boutique. We are a rag-tag crew wheeling racks across 61st street, wielding palm trees through the revolving doors. But soon the boxes are unpacked onto shelves and the space looks like Ibu has lived here for years and the locals begin to peer in and soon they are curious and shopping and buying and wondering why don’t you just stay on permanently?
I am still in New York as the boutique goes on through tomorrow, still pinching myself that I get to be a part of this movement, still in wonder at how good it is to work, and to work with those who share a common heart. We want simply to make the world more beautiful, more gracious, more fair. To elevate women as they ascend their own precarious stairs and emerge into the light, celebrating and strong. We want to work together, side by side, and laugh, and make merry. It is more than I could ever have hoped for, this life. And to all of those who walk it with me, Charlotte and team et all, I say . . . my unspeakable thanks.
All the Best,