Tuesday Afternoon Quarterback

So, we all know who went home with the CFDA awards last night. Now its time to talk about the fashion worn by attendees. After all, isn’t it all about the clothes and what one is wearing? Which, by definition, takes on a whole new meaning when the subjects are serious fashion pros and fashion insiders. Thankfully, the red carpet for an event such as this is not your average run of the mill red carpet. One expects to see interesting variety and individualism, rather than the usual, boring, and uninspiring parade of long gowns and borrowed jewels which are routinely seen on other red carpets.  Even if, (or should I say, especially if), the results are not so great and beg the question of good taste. Who needs good taste anyway? As Diana Vreeland said: “Bad taste is better than no taste”.

In any event, there were a number of themes which stood out, and these are some of my observations:

Tuxedo Junction:

Stella Tenant in Joseph Altuzarra
(Photo: CFDA)
This unisex sartorial staple never gets old and looks as good on the gals as the guys (if not better). Actually, after seeing so many frothy dresses and bouffant ballskirts at parties and  galas as of late, I find it particularly refreshing to find women opting for severe tuxedos (or white pantsuits, which always look just right). Some good examples from last night: Steven Kolb, Tim Blanks, Stella Tennant, Kembra Pfaher, Tao Okamoto, and Thom Browne (who put his own spin on it by substituting shorts for pants).

(Not so) Mellow Yellow

Kerry Washington in Jason Wu
(Photo: CFDA)

It’s been a favored hue worn by many high profile party goers (whether they opt for long or short, or everything in between). Last night, Jessica Stam, Kerry Washington, Michelle Ochs, and Jennifer Meyer, were those who hopped on the yellow bandwagon. FYI, it’s worth noting that this color not only looks good on its own, but used as an accent, and nothing adds more of a punch to black & white (which is another ubiquitous favorite these days).

Cut it Out

Rachel Roy and Jessica Hart
(Photo: Randy Brooke)

Sculptural, architectural, body revealing designs, with strategically placed cut outs, are attention grabbers and not for the faint of heart (and should only be worn by those whose bodies are well toned). Fortunately, last night, they were, and seen on the likes of Linda Fargo, Erin Wasson, Rachel Roy, and Jessica Hart.

A league of Their Own

Michelle Harper
(Photo: CFDA)
There are those who always stand out and manage to distinguish themselves from the pack: good, bad, or ugly (or all three). Michelle Harper is at the top of my list and she did it again last night. She is very intuitive and always surprises, putting together outfits that defy description. I don’t know exactly what she was wearing last night, but it was black, accessorized with rhinestones, diamonds (or crystals), and she capped it off with a vertiginous headpiece.

Vera Wang
(Photo: Randy Brooke)

Others who always ‘look’ like themselves: Vera Wang, who accepted her award wearing a long dress (in her signature mousey gray color), layered over black trousers; Ralph Lauren, (he presented Vera with her award), opted for a formal tuxedo jacket paired offhandedly with well worn jeans and cowboy boots: a style he is known for; and Anna Wintour who marches to her own drummer. Though I personally was not crazy about her choice last evening, you have to hand it to her: she manages to get her signature fur collar in, regardless of the fact that it’s almost summer.

Proud as a Peacock

Michael Kors with Karolina Kurkova & Cody Horn,
 both in looks by the designer
(Photo: CFDA)

It’s becoming more and more routine to see men actually stand out at events these days. In addition to Thom Browne, who is in a class by himself, and Zang Toi both of whom love to show off their legs apparently), Cameron Silver always makes an individual, unique, and eye catching personal statement.
And once again, Michael Kors proves that a man can make a grand entrance on the red carpet even though he’s a minimalist when it comes to his sartorial choices. This was exemplified last night: he wisely ‘accessorized’ his classic tuxedo and signature dark aviators, with two long stemmed beauties (Karolina Kurkova and Cody Horn) flanking him on each side. Both were wearing Michael Kors, of course, and resembled dazzling bookends.

The Long and Short of It

Rafé Totengco with Mary Alice Stephenson
(Photo: CFDA)

Sometimes, a gal doesn’t know whether to go long or short. Which is why it makes perfect sense that one of the more ubiquitous fashion statements around,  is a dress that is both long AND short. Mary Alice Stephenson, clad in Bibhu Mohapatra,  pulled this off with aplomb last evening.

– by Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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