Rihanna, Blake Lively, Marion Cotillard, Karlie Kloss, Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford were among those gathered at Lincoln Center last night for the annual CFDA Awards, and the star studded crowd was in for a treat! You could almost hear jaws dropping as presenter Naomi Campbell emerged on the stage. She didn’t cross the stage—she worked it like a runway. But that moment—and it certainly was a moment—suddenly became an intimate tribute as the supermodel was brought to tears describing the pioneering work of her mentor, the inimitable Bethann Hardison, a woman she addresses as “Mom.” It would have been a difficult act for anyone to follow, except the model/activist, who received her award accompanied by Iman and a gorgeous parade of models all clad in gold wraps!
It was the story of the night: beautiful, moving, celebratory—and always with a touch of humor. After a warm welcome from Diane, CFDA President, the audience was treated to hysterical imagined texts between Vogue Editor in Chief, Anna Wintour, and Style Icon Award winner, Rihanna, who charmed the crowd as she spoke about fashion letting her say who she is—often quite loudly! The effortlessly chic Marion Cotillard presented to Raf Simons of Dior, who also got emotional when thanking his right hand of 11 years. And Tom Ford had the crowd laughing again when he explained how he learned about his Lifetime Achievement Award: Diane came up to him at a party in Los Angeles and didn’t say the news, he recalled, she purred it.
But the real fun is in the cocktail hour after the show, as the winners are showered with congratulations and the fashion family has their annual reunion. Diane continued her hostess duties, accompanied by Dree Hemingway, Brie Larson, Maria Borges and Jessica Joffe, all looking effortless and elegant in floor length DVF gowns, before the crowd dispersed to after parties to continue celebrating the industry that lets us be who we want to be. “Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of access to fashion,” Rihanna explained. Nonetheless, she immediately recognized its power: “Even as a child I remember thinking, ‘She can beat me, but she cannot beat my outfit.’” And in nothing but 230,000 Swarovski crystals hugging her famous figure, we have to agree.