Honoring Stateside Fashion's Brightest at the CFDA Awards
Brevity, they say, is the soul of wit. And last night's faster, shorter, funnier CFDA Awards, clocking in at a mere hour and a half, proved the point. Of course, it's hard for us at Style.com to be entirely objective about this year's event, given that our very own Candy Pratts Price—her title is executive fashion director, but that doesn't even begin to describe her role—won the Eugenia Sheppard Award, delivered by a teary-eyed Anna Wintour, no less. Still, we have to say that the new format—an awards ceremony followed by dinner, rather than the traditional mix of the two—was pretty much a success all around. Yes, some of the films that introduced the nominees for each award were still too long—though Kate Moss' impersonation of Pratts Price was, ahem, priceless, and Menswear Designer of the Year Tom Ford's performance as a needy patient to Gabriel Byrne's psychiatrist in a spoof of HBO's In Treatment should put the beleaguered network back on the map—but generally things moved much more quickly than in previous years.
For the above, thank acerbic emcee Fran Lebowitz—if Jon Stewart isn't available for next year's Oscars, they'll know who to call—and a witty, glammed-up roster of presenters that included Kim Cattrall, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Simon Doonan (though the latter's joke about André Leon Talley's "borrowed turban," delivered during an introduction of the International Award for Dries Van Noten, didn't immediately seem to amuse the Vogue editor). A more surefire line belonged to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who, in accepting his Board of Directors' Special Tribute, deadpanned, "My skinny jeans are at the cleaners and my gladiator sandals are being resoled."
For all the laughs, the night inevitably began on a sad note with an homage to Yves Saint Laurent, who passed away Sunday. Diane von Furstenberg credited the fashion legend with "legalizing opium," among other achievements. "I'm wearing a 30-year-old jacket. I can barely close it, though," she had said earlier of her Le Smoking (we're not sure we believe that). The biggest award of the evening, Womenswear Designer of the Year, was delivered by Eva Mendes, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Victoria Beckham, each of whom had an obvious rooting interest in a different nominee: Calvin Klein's Francisco Costa, Proenza Schouler, and Marc Jacobs, respectively. Mendes let out a "whoop" when Costa's name was pulled out of the hat. (Jacobs couldn't have been too crushed by the loss, because he showed up later at the Calvin Klein after-party at Norwood.)
The big question was whether everyone would stay for dinner afterward, and in fact, all and sundry filed from the New York Public Library to the Bryant Park Grill next door, and stayed at least through two courses. A still-stunned Tory Burch, who took home the Accessory Designer of the Year Award, arrived at her table to cheers from her entire staff, friends like Marina Rust Connor, and her mother, Reva. "I never thought it would happen," Burch said. "We were going to have a win-or-lose party," said Rodarte's Kate Mulleavy, who, with her sister, Laura, took home the Swarovski Award for Womenswear. "But then it became a Win, Lose or Draw party." No word on whether the eighties board game was really revived. And there were no hard feelings between Swarovski Award for Accessory Design winner Philip Crangi and nominee Justin Giunta, who popped outside arm in arm for a cigarette. Others did a post-game wrap-up, pronouncing the reformatted night a success—you don't just have to take our word for it: "Diane runs a tight ship," said soon-to-be-former Barneys president Howard Socol, referring to CFDA president von Furstenberg. Added Gap designer Patrick Robinson, "I think it's the best one I've ever been to."
Click to see a list of all the CFDA winners >