Breakfast of CFDA Champions at the W Hotel

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it makes sense that some of the fashion industry's finest kicked off the Spring 2013 festivities with a fabulous one in the Presidential Suite of the W Hotel Times Square. This morning, the Council of Fashion Designers of America showcased its new crop of 10 up-and-coming designers from its Fashion Incubator program. Ingenues in attendance included Allie Shapiro of Ari Dein, Doug and Ben Burkman of Burkman Bros, Daniel Vosovic, Ricky Hendry and Marc Daniels of Isaora, Luis Fernandez of NUMBER: Lab, Emanuela Duca, Reece Solomon of Reece Hudson, Alan Eckstein andTimo Weiland of Timo Weiland,and Whitney Pozgay of WhiT.

In between sips of Chambord, pineapple mimosas and bites of granola-crusted cinnamon brioche French toast, the designers were treated to an exciting announcement courtesy of Carlos Becil, VP of Brand Management for Starwood’s Luxury and Design Brands North America. For the next two years, Starwood will sponsor the travel expenses for the Incubator participants to allow them to jet around the United States to host trunk shows, meet retailers, and get acquainted with the locale of each great American city. “We always support emerging talent,” Becil said. “It’s a great way to support emerging fashion designers and what we think is new and next in fashion.”

Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA, was quite pleased with the program. “What better way to announce this intimate relationship than in a hotel room?,” he quipped.

And get this: adding to the swag, the W will hook each designer up with an inspiration trip to any of the 42 W Hotels around the world to help them get their creative juices flowing. Um, can we come? Our bags are packed!

Look for the team of ten at their first stop, the W Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia, this November.

We caught up with Kolb and two of the incubator designers — Duca and Vosovic of Project Runway fame — to chat about what inspires them, favorite destinations, and their travel go-tos.

Tell us about your inspirations:

Kolb: “Inspiration is really the start of any collection so probably the most important point of that design process. You have a blank canvas and before you start to throw paint on it you have to know where you want that paint to land, so it’s really critical.”

Duca: “I am from Rome, Italy, so ruins and ancient architecture inspire my work. But I’m also influenced by my life today in New York with contemporary [designs]. So the old and new come together in my work. It’s a primitive sophistication that’s the core of [it].”

Vosovic: “Honestly it can come from anywhere. At the end of each season, I just equate it to squeezing myself out like a sponge and getting everything out that’s in there. I do all the things I would want to do in my daily life: I go to movies that aren’t fashion related, I have conversations that aren’t fashion-related, I travel, I do all the things that are just a part of living my life in New York. And after a few weeks I start funneling it into fashion.”

What's your ultimate travel destination?

Kolb: “It’s hard to pick one favorite, but last year I went to the W Hotel in [Vieques Island, Puerto Rico]. I loved it there; it was a great step back into the island culture and it’s a beautiful property with great service and great hospitality.”

Duca: “Japan is really strong with surfaces and has beautiful ceramics that are similar to my work — the graphics, the lines. I’m into shapes and forms, and I think that Japan can have that.” (Looks like Emanuela may take her inspiration trip to the W Nara!)

Vosovic: “It depends on the weather. I love going to kind of depressing places meaning like desolate, cold, icy — but in an urban setting. So St. Petersburg, Russia is to me, on an off-season where it’s cold, mysterious, and beautiful. But the next one on my list is South America. I’ve never been south of Mexico so Peru, Chile, something like that where I can explore…I want to dig, I want to climb, and get in the jungle.” (Vosovic could finally take that South American jaunt with a stay at the W Hotel in Santiago, Chile.)

What's the one travel item you can’t live without?

Kolb: iPad.

Duca: iPhone.

Vosovic: Earplugs.

What's your favorite minibar en suite treat?

Kolb: “I never drink tomato juice, but when I travel, whether it be on the plane and whenever they offer you a drink or in the hotel, I am drawn to a tomato juice. If they have a tomato juice I’m very happy, and I’m even happier if it's low sodium!”

Duca: “Sparkling water.”

Vosovic: “Hotel snickers bar — and I put them in the fridge!”