Competition and Congeniality
Anna Wintour was greeting guests at the door, Calvin Klein delivered a heartfelt speech, and Diane von Furstenberg was snapping photos all the while. If you were a rising star at last night's CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund dinner, you might have been of two minds. "It makes you very insecure, but at the same time it's very enjoyable," as Haider Ackermann put it.
For those designers up for awards, and perhaps not just them, it's a night of competition and collegiality. But with the votes cast and comfort food on the tables—per tradition, the main course was chicken pot pie—the emphasis seemed very much to be on the latter. "The competition is the least of it, at this point," CFDA executive director Steven Kolb noted.
Nominees Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs had watched Pacquiao and Marquez's welterweight title match on pay-per-view on Saturday—Ochs had even put money on it. Earlier in the day, Max Osterweis had boxed at the gym. But to see the Suno designer chatting with Carlos Campos at the bar, you'd never know that they were, technically speaking, in the ring together. "I don't think creative endeavors like this are really competitive, because everyone has a unique vision," Osterweis maintained. "The best thing about this has been us all getting to hang out."
There was plenty of that going on, even if geographic outliers like last year's Alabama-based winner, Billy Reid, don't tend to mingle quite as easily as sociable New Yorkers like 2010's runners-up, Eddie Borgo and Prabal Gurung (who wore a tuxedo by 2011 nominee Antonio Azzuolo). Ikram Goldman picked up some of the slack, extending warm hugs to Creatures of the Wind's Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters—fellow Chicagoans—on their way in. She had even more reason to be pleased when the duo nabbed one of the evening's two runner-up awards. Pamela Love scored the other. The bronze trophies were by Rachel Feinstein Currin.
The evening's big winner, after coming home empty-handed last year, was Joseph Altuzarra. "Weirdly, the moment you get here you actually feel way calmer," Altuzarra had said before being summoned to the pedestal. Safe to say hearing his name called changed that. How'd he prepare for his big moment? "I had carrot cake before coming, from Billy's. I'm hoping that's a lucky charm, because I want to keep on doing that," he said. Sounds like someone's got a new go-to dessert.