Aside from the fabulous frocks on show, there was plenty to keep the crowd entertained at the 2015 Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Awards on June 1, sponsored by Swarovski for the fourteenth time.
Founded in 1962 by Eleanor Lambert, one of the US’s most visionary and influential fashion pioneers, it’s clear why the CFDA awards inspire not just excitement, but real emotion, too: they’re part of America’s fashion DNA. The aim is to recognize outstanding contributions from all areas of the industry, with nominations submitted by an invitation-only network of top fashion influencers. If there’s one prize that says you’ve arrived, it’s a CFDA award.
Comedian James Corden—the latest British export to US television—played host at Alice Tully Hall in New York’s Lincoln Center, quipping his way through some strong competition from the ever-quotable Kanye West, and the A-List roster of presenters and guests determined to add their own fun to this prestigious event.
Tom Ford took the first of the night’s trophies (Menswear Designer of the Year). Referring to the award he picked up in 2014, he joked: “It’s good to know there is life after a Lifetime Achievement Award.” This year, that particular honor went to 72-years-young Betsey Johnson, who had us all resolving to put in more hours at the gym when she cartwheeled onto the stage and then dropped into the splits! Kelly Osbourne was on hand to help her up. More proof that there’s no age limit on style, the 90-year-old aunt of J.Crew CEO, Mickey Drexler, was there to catch his enthusiastic shout-out. Fashion Icon Award winner Pharrell Williams then treated us to his fashion life story, before Chelsea Clinton brought us close to tears with a story about Oscar de la Renta making what was possibly his last dress for her daughter.
Returning to the gowns, the CFDA Awards is the Oscars of the couture world, where the fashion elite go to be seen, and 2015 was a vintage year for American red carpet labels: Gigi Hadid glittered in a gold Michael Kors jumpsuit; Amanda Seyfried shimmered in sequins and sheer paneling from Rodarte; a smoking-hot red and black, split-to-the-thigh gown by Prabal Gurung was a hit for Diane Kruger, while Tanashe rocked low-key attitude in a Public School jumpsuit and combat boots. Also caught by the cameras: Kim Kardashian, Zachary Quinto, Joshua Jackson, January Jones, Katie Holmes and the crystal maison’s own Nadja Swarovski. Go, team America!
Our congratulations also go to Rosie Assoulin and Ryan Roche, as well as Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School, who received Swarovski Awards for Womenswear; and to Orley, Ovadia & Sons, and Shayne Oliver for Hood By Air, who each bagged a Swarovski Award for Menswear. Meanwhile, the Swarovski Award for Accessory Design went to Eva Fehren, Paul Andrew, and Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel for Mansur Gavriel.
Photos by Jennifer Graylock.