Even though she loves awards, Meryl Streep did not show up to introduce Ann Roth at last night's New York Women in Film and Television's Designing Women evening, where the legendary costume designer was being honored for lifetime achievement. At a Roth tribute at the Hamptons Film Festival in 2013, the actress who had been dressed as Julia Child by Roth, as well as Donna in Mamma Mia!, not to mention many other characters, flew in from the Midwest set of August: Osage County for the occasion. Not this time. The multi-Academy Award winning actress sent a message to the presenter, Roth's daughter, Hannah Sorkin, noting, "I love her unequivocally," and "I cannot imagine what it would be like to have Ann Roth as a mother."
Ever festive, the Designing Women evening also featured Gretchen Mol introducing Francesca Paris who created a wig of cascading red curls affectionately dubbed "Lola" for the actress' role in Boardwalk Empire. "Lola" hid a host of sins. For Working Girl, doing Melanie Griffith's giant mid-'80s, teased-out do, Paris used riders on the Staten Island ferry for research. Beverly Jo Pryor, makeup artist for Selma, Lee Daniels' The Butler and many other films was similarly feted. The Variety Ensemble Award went to the entire design crew for Orange is the New Black. M. C. Lea DeLaria, who performs as "Big Boo" Black in that popular Netflix series, kept the whole night briskly moving, with her signature zest, and off-color quips about off-screen women: "I'm all for women from behind."
At the reception, rooftop at Scholastic in Soho, Ann Roth posed for photos with a mannequin in a cream-colored ensemble with lots of padded underskirt she created for Nicole Kidman in Cold Mountain. Roth's meticulous attention to detail became immediately clear as she started to maneuver under the material, complaining to Mike Harrell, who works with her, "Who did this? The bump goes in the back."
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.