There were starlets. There were ruffles. There was tulle, crystals, sequins, leather, lace and vinyl. There were body suits and cutouts, full skirts and short skirts and studded sheer skirts. There were messy buns, side buns, braided buns, high buns. There was a feather headpiece that one could follow through the crowd like a beacon. There were tuxedo shorts (Thom Browne) and perfectly worn jeans (Ralph Lauren). There was a sleek white dress cut low in the back that appeared to be adorned with sea life.
So if we learned anything at last night’s CFDA Awards at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall it’s that when it comes to Diane’s mantra, “Go for it,” the fashion crowd has got it down. The night before we’d finally seen Gatsby, so of course we were sipping champagne, watching the crowd and channeling our inner Nick Carraway when, suddenly, there he was, Nick Carraway himself. Or at least the actor who plays Nick Carraway in the film, Tobey Maguire, looking dapper as ever with his wife, Jennifer Meyer, who shone in a golden rod DVF number for her nomination for the Swarovski prize for Accessories. The award went to Pamela Love, who was escorted by GIRLS actress Jemima Kirk who was wearing one of the evening’s most daring ensembles that included a perfectly sheer dress over a black bodysuit. We liked it.
Host Andy Cohen opened the ceremony with a bit of safe self-deprecation, including a clip of himself playing a salesman sliding a shoe onto the foot of Sarah Jessica Parker in an episode of Sex and the City. It’s a notoriously quiet crowd, but in one of his most well received lines and definitely the longest acronym of the evening, Cohen pronounced, “OMG, CFDA! Secretary Clinton is in the house.”
Hillary Clinton was, indeed, in the house and she received the night’s most passionate standing ovation as she took the stage to present the Founder’s Award to her friend Oscar de la Renta. Diane introduced her in a Swarovksi embellished version of the Achava dress, and the two hugged in what was decidedly our favorite “Be the woman you want to be!” moment.
The ceremony moved at a pace befitting of the industry as Womenswear Designer of the Year went to Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler, Menswear Designer of the Year went to Thom Browne, while Phillip Lim took Accessories Designer of the Year. A lovely Jessica Chastain presented the International Award to Riccardo Tisci. CFDA CEO Steven Kolb took the stage to recognize the work of three young designers from around the country who had received fashion scholarships.
It was truly a night to celebrate American fashion and, as Lifetime Achievement Award winner Vera Wang so aptly put it, “the courage, passion and efforts that define every designer in this room.”
So, it was more than worth the trip uptown. Even if afterwards, we must confess, we snuck back below 14th street and skipped the after party to grab a burger at Corner Bistro.
To learn more about the awards, visit the CFDA’s website.