CFDA Awards Honor American Fashion

Monday, June 4th marked fashion’s other night out, aka, the CFDA Fashion Awards, when the industry comes together at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall to celebrate the year’s best designers.

This time around, the event dubbed “the Oscars of fashion” was hosted by SNL’s Seth Meyers, who opened by stating that “Fashion people like hating things more than they like liking thing” (true dat), followed by a Galliano/Bar Mitzvah joke (ouch) and a slew of good-natured jibes aimed at Marc Jacobs, which reached a comedic peak when Meyers returned to the stage mid-show wearing the same black lace dress-with-white-boxers outfit Jacobs had worn to the Met Gala a few weeks earlier (“I’m going to wear this on the subway on the way home,” Meyers quipped while the crowd roared with laughter).

Taking home the Womenswear Designer of the Year prize (presented by Jessica Chastain) were Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen for The Row (“I’d like to thank you” and “I’d like to thank you,” the sisters said to each other when accepting their award). Matt Bomer presented the Menswear Designer of the Year award to Billy Reid, and Reed Krakoff nabbed the Accessory Designer of the Year statuette, presented by Mad Men’s Jessica Paré (a new fashion crowd fave following her flirty rendition of Zou Bisou Bisou).

The Swarovski Awards for emerging talent were handed out by Lily Collins and went to Joseph Altuzarra (for womenswear), Phillip Lim (menswear) and Tabitha Simmons (accessories).

On the honorees front, Anna Wintour presented Tommy Hilfiger with the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award, Theory’s Andrew Rosen took home the Founders Award (presented by Kenneth Cole), Pharrell Williams presented street-style bloggers (and real-life couple) Garance Doré and Scott Schuman (aka, The Sartorialist) with the Media Award. Neither International Award winner Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons nor Fashion Icon award winner Johnny Depp were on hand to accept their prizes (Kawakubo was home in Tokyo and Depp was on set filming The Lone Ranger), but both were accepted in absentia by quick-witted director John Waters, who gave Meyers a run for his money in the comedy department.

As 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, guests were also treated to a short film directed by Zoe Cassavetes, and a live retrospective that paid tribute to the most impactful work by CFDA designers past and present, the majority of whom toil silently and diligently, never knowing what it’s like to stand onstage at Alice Tully Hall being lauded for their talent. So to them, and all this year’s winners, we say bravo!

Lauren David Peden writes for Rue La La as a Contributing Editor.

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June 8, 2012