In February, he celebrated 20 years since the launch of his eponymous label. In addition, the designer, 57, picked up the Lifetime Achievement honor at the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards in June, and just a few days ago, the Couture Council at the Museum of FIT honored him with the 2018 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion.
“It’s very sweet, and it means so much to me,” he told PEOPLE of receiving his latest accolade before taking the stage to accept his award at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater during the New York Fashion Week kickoff event. (Rodriguez decided not to show this season.) “It’s a great moment of peace and clarity. I feel all the love.”
Rodriguez, the son of two Cuban immigrants, credits his success to being “quite stubborn.”
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“I like things that are quite pure, and straightforward, whether it was fragrance or ready-to-wear,” he said. And he never strayed from his goal: “To make you feel beautiful, and feel good, and feel confident. It’s quite human and quite simple. I’ve just been focused on that.”
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It hasn’t hurt that a bevy of celebrities have become dedicated supporters of his minimal, expertly-crafted designs.
Carolyn Bessette famously wore a white silk sheath to her wedding to John F. Kennedy Jr. in 1996, helping put Rodriguez on the map. Since then, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Salma Hayek, Tina Fey and more have worn his pieces, and no celebrities more so than Jessica Alba, Claire Danes and Julianna Margulies, who have worn his looks on the red carpet for the past two decades.
“It means everything to me [to have their support],” he said. “They are family at this point. I’ve seen, you know Claire, and Jules, with their husbands, I’ve seen their children born. They’re my family.”
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His nuclear family has also become a bigger focus in his life, as he welcomed twins Callum and Ivy with his husband of five years, ad executive Thomas Tolan, 15 months ago.
“When I get home, it just puts life and work, and any kind of anxiety or stress into a great perspective because you know what’s really important,” he said. “I’m very lucky, I have two little angels that make everything seem so insignificant.”
He said that while his children do not quite understand his career, they do enjoy the fruits of his labor. He has crafted a few things for daughter Ivy. “She’s gotten quite a little wardrobe so far,” he said.
Does this mean a collection of children’s clothes is on the way? Not exactly, he said. “I don’t want to do more work!”
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