Brandon Maxwell (Womenswear Designer of the Year), Rick Owens (Menswear Designer of the Year), Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (Accessory Designer of the Year), and Emily Adams Bode (Emerging Designer of the Year) were the big winners at last night’s CFDA Awards.
For the 2nd year in a row, approximately 500 souls including fashion royalty (Valentino, Donna Karan, Anna Wintour, Vera Wang, Michael Kors), model stars (Gigi, Bella, Winnie) and one of the biggest stars on the planet (you can’t get much bigger than JLo) schlepped down to Brooklyn for this annual event, now in its 38th year.
Of course, it’s not exactly a ‘schlep’ if you happen to live in this uber cool borough that has admittedly won over the fashion crowd. It’s not only the coolest place to live, but it’s the hippest, most happening destination for major fashion shows and events.
Paradoxically, the man who can be credited with starting it all, Alexander Wang, who staged his February 2014 runway show at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, used Rockefeller Center for his May 31st Pre-Fall 2019 runway show.
Let’s face it, you can’t get more iconically Manhattan or more centralized midtown than that. When I asked the CFDA President and CEO Steven Kolb if they plan use to the Brooklyn Museum as their venue indefinitely, he was non- committal and admitted that things might well change under the “new leadership.”
New leadership, indeed! Last night, the torch was officially passed from CFDA Chairwoman Diane von Furstenberg, who was named President in 2006 and became chairwoman in 2015, to Tom Ford. He arrived looking “Fucking Fabulous” in a tuxedo (I think the man was born in one).
To those outside of fashion, the Met Gala, arguably the most highly publicized event in the world, is perceived as the fashion equivalent to the Oscars. But of course, there are no awards, and in reality, it’s the CFDA Awards, which celebrate the outstanding creativity in American fashion, that have that distinction.
On second thought, they’re more like the Golden Globes in that guests sit around large tables, dinner is served, and drinks are poured while being entertained with jokes, numerous testimonials, and heartfelt acceptance speeches.
In addition to the 4 major awards, there were also the honorary awards which paid tribute to those personalities that have left their mark on world fashion. This year, designer, editor-in-chief of CR Fashion Book, and former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris Carine Roitfeld, who was dressed in Tom Ford, received the Founder’s Award.
Lynn Yaeger garnered the Media Award in honor of Eugenia Sheppard. She told me her dress and handbag were custom designed by Simone Rocha. Even though she was encouraged to wear an American designer, she was intent on wearing something by this celebrated British designer.
Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti, through their foundation, have underwritten the International Award. The nonprofit Fondazione Valentino Garavani e Giancarlo Giammetti is focused on charity and the promotion of culture and art.
This year’s Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti International Award was presented to Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. The first one, given out, in 1991 went to Karl Lagerfeld.
Eileen Fisher, the queen of minimal, was the recipient of the Positive Change Award. Couturier Bob Mackie, who arrived with Bernadette Peters, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Barbie, who is turning 60 this year, was awarded the “Board of Directors’ Tribute” for her influence on fashion and her status as a global icon.
But really, it was all about JLo, this year’s Fashion Icon Award winner. She was one of the last to arrive and made a grand entrance with dutiful fiancé A-Rod in tow. For the occasion, she chose an orange custom design by Ralph Lauren: a glittery long-sleeved turtleneck cropped sweater (all the better to show off her perfect abs) and voluminous skirt in silk taffeta with a train (that was carried by an assistant).
She said she chose Ralph not only because he’s an iconic American designer but he is also like her from the Bronx. She is so flawless and gorgeous that a woman standing next to me, gasped when she saw her.
FYI, last night’s dress code was: “Fashion” and that means everything and anything goes, and it sure did! Guests were dressed up, dressed down, and everything in between, and it was just a matter of how one wanted to look for the evening.
There were even a few who looked as though they could have been at the Met Gala with their ‘campy’ ensembles (for example, Veronica Webb in a Carmen Miranda-ish headpiece, matching bag, and gown by Eric Javits).
One can argue that the iconic costume designer Bob Mackie is inherently camp, as is Lynn Yaeger and Suzanne Bartsch, with or without a gold headpiece and second skin gold unitard.
And you probably can’t get campier than Deborah Kass’s attention-grabbing 8-foot-tall yellow OY/YO sculpture that stands in front of the Brooklyn Museum. On one side, it spells “Yo,” a popular slang greeting and the Spanish word for “I.” On the other, it says, “Oy,” which references the famous Yiddish expression, “oy vey.” My feelings exactly!