Monday night saw American fashion’s finest descend upon the Lincoln centre, New York, in a dazzling array of sharply cut suits, Proenza Schouler metallics, noteworthy Altuzarra prints and a healthy burst of jewel-coloured brights.
That’s right, fashion’s version of the Oscars, the CFDA awards, celebrated their 50th anniversary on June 4th and streamed the entire thing worldwide the next day on style.com to those of us not lucky enough to receive an invite. So we all know how I spent my Tuesday evening, making dinner for one and falling head over heels for John Waters. The 66-years old filmmaker stole the show with his thank you speeches on behalf of two of his friends (more on said friends later) and his trippy Comme des Garçons jacket.
The red carpet looks served to prove American fashion is both wonderfully diverse and beautifully innovative, despite its more conservative reputation. A few of my personal favourite ensembles feature at the end of this article for your own ocular pleasure. Be warned though, Allison Mosshart’s hair may make rushing to your local Salon and grabbing that bottle of coral hair dye seem like a good idea, but you must remember you are simply not as cool as her. No one is. And in reality a bleached up rat’s nest the colour of everyone’s favourite animated clownfish doesn’t go so well with what your boss deems ‘smart casual’.
The eminent DVF took to the stage in one of her own designs to kick-start the show and introduced SNL’s Seth Meyers as the host, who proceeded to stand behind the Swarovski smothered podium spouting out risky Galliano gags. Then, after an awkward and somewhat amusing few minutes it was time to get things rolling.
Scott ‘The Sartorialist’ Schuman and Garance Doré were recognised with a Media Award (handed over by a very lovely looking Pharrell) for the way their blogs have changed the landscape of fashion and the way the industry communicates.
Reed Krakoff snagged the accessory designer of the year award whilst the Swarovski award for accessory design headed to Tabitha Simmons and her fabulous footwear.
Prince of perennial chic-yet-youthful elegance Phillip Lim received the Swarovski Award for his menswear, launched in New York in 2009.
The Menswear designer of the year award meanwhile, went straight into the hands of Billy Reid, the southern designer whose knack for tradition with just the right amount of twist had him as my favourite contender from the outset.
Joseph Altuzarra, the talented 27-years old who rose to fame in a mere four collections, bagged the Swarovski award for womenswear; with Kate Bosworth in one of his creations by his side, it was easy to see why.
Andrew Rosen, CEO and investor at the helm of many rising as well as established American labels, such as Theory, Helmut Lang, Rag and Bone and now Proenza Schouler received the founders award for his contribution to the American fashion industry. King of perfected-prep, Tommy Hilfiger, received the lifetime achievement award which was introduced with by an a cappella group, Glee-style.
In a first for CFDA the fashion icon award went to a man, non other than the alarmingly attractive and enduringly alluring Johnny Depp. Never one to shy away from a fedora, Depp’s style is certainly deserving of recognition. John Water’s summed it up as ‘Beyond grunge, between the valley of beatnik, under the bridge of hippie homelessness and over the top of rockabilly royalty’. Style is that inherent thing that you just can’t quite define or pinpoint, and Johnny Depp has gallons of it.
Water’s also accepted the international award for Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons. The designer was quoted as saying ‘I think the world and its values are too often lukewarm. I want to make them hotter’, something she is certainly making a good stab at.
Which leaves us with the most coveted award of the evening; womenswear designer of the year. It did not go to fashion darling Marc Jacobs, nor did it slide smoothly into the hands of the boys behind Proenza Schouler’s easy-cool refinement. Instead the award went to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen for their label The Row, whose exceptional workmanship and timeless elegance was displayed most perfectly on the duo themselves, sporting pieces from their resort 2013 collection, and looking damn good whilst doing it.
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