At CFDA awards, the biggest stars of American fashion are activists and foreign-born designers – Washington Post

From left: Gloria Steinem, Cecile Richards and Janelle Monáe are joint honorees at the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards in New York. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Pictures)

NEW YORK — The loudest, most sustained applause on American fashion’s massive night of celebration was for the tall, slender lady with the cropped platinum hair carrying the cobalt blue gown by Gabriela Hearst and diamond ring by Monique Péan.

She was the president of Deliberate Parenthood.

The editors, designers and retailers — gathered for the annual Council of Fashion Designers of America awards — gave Cecile Richards a standing ovation when she was launched. It cheered her throughout a video montage that confirmed her talking up for girls’s rights. And it roared at a soundbite of her pointed remarks throughout a congressional listening to that appeared to go away Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) chastened and speechless.

The admiration was mutual. Richards thanked the CFDA for the assist it’s given her group and proclaimed that “trying good and doing good go hand in hand.”

The fashion business handed out its high honors Monday evening to the high designers in attire and equipment in an annual ritual that all the time aspires to be extra culturally momentous than it's. As host Seth Meyers joked, the CFDAs are referred to as the “Oscars of fashion, however solely by you guys.”

Heidi Klum and Zac Posen. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Pictures)

As black automobiles crawled via Eighth Avenue visitors in direction of the Hammerstein Ballroom, law enforcement officials tapped on home windows, asking occupants to indicate proof of their invites. Throughout the cocktail hour, the dialog ricocheted from business chatter to the London terrorist assault to Washington politics to the unusual mirrored field wherein friends cavorted for a phalanx of photographers, who captured their pantomimes for Instagram.

“They advised us to bounce,” stated designer Zac Posen, who was boxed in with mannequin Heidi Klum. “However there was no music.”

As the crowd meandered into the principal ballroom for dinner, the tables had been aglow and stocked with wine, champagne and massive bottles of tequila — together with slices of lime, shakers of salt and shot glasses. No bread. It was going to be a boozy night. And if there was any doubt, after CFDA chairman Diane von Furstenberg thanked Swarovski for its longtime sponsorship, she instructed the viewers: Drink the tequila! Yay, new sponsor!

Diane von Furstenberg and Eva Chen. (Nicholas Hunt/Getty Pictures)

She additionally held forth on immigration coverage — an space of heightened focus for the commerce group. When she requested how many individuals in the viewers had been immigrants, a big quantity of arms had been held aloft. Underscoring the globalism that defines Seventh Avenue, the winner of each the menswear and womenswear designer of the yr trophies was Raf Simons for Calvin Klein. A Belgian native who has introduced just one season at the fashion home, Simons has already had an infinite impression due to his interpretation of American idealism and exceptionalism. A visibly emotional Simons accepted the menswear award, noting that he and his workforce “got here to America since you, its individuals, are inspiring to us.”

Nicole Kidman presents an award to Raf Simons. (Theo Wargo/Getty Pictures)

Simons obtained his womenswear trophy from actress Nicole Kidman, whose gleaming presence left him stammering and discombobulated. After reiterating his due to his workforce and to the business, Simons additionally provided a sort of mission assertion for these in any inventive business: “Be an inspiration for the way the world ought to look.”

The highest award for accent design went to Stuart Vevers, the British designer who leads Coach — one other legacy model with an aesthetic rooted in American craftsmanship. Vevers has been unabashed in his mining of iconography similar to the retro cool of Route 66 and Harley-Davidson rebelliousness.

The Swarovski award for brand spanking new expertise went to the designers of Monse — Laura Kim, a local of Seoul, and Fernando Garcia, who grew up in the Dominican Republic and Spain.

Pat McGrath, middle, with veteran fashions Karen Elson and Amber Valletta. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Pat McGrath, the British make-up artist, was honored for her wizardry with eyeshadow and lipstick, designer Kenneth Cole for his philanthropy and social activism, and Franca Sozzani, the late longtime editor in chief of Vogue Italia for her eloquent use of fashion to talk to cultural issues similar to home abuse and environmentalism.

Alek Wek and Demna Gvasalia. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Pictures)

The worldwide award — which now feels virtually out of date given the circulate of design expertise throughout borders — went to Demna Gvasalia, the subversive designer who has fetishized workaday uniforms and turned low-cost nylon totes into luxurious purses for Vetements and Balenciaga. He was launched by Sudanese mannequin Alek Wek, wearing a black Balenciaga robe and acid inexperienced legging-boots, who stated she shared an emotional reference to the Georgian native as a result of they each grew up in struggle-ravaged international locations.

Gvasalia, who enjoys upending conventional notions of magnificence and luxurious — and as a byproduct, courting controversy — greeted the formally dressed viewers carrying black trousers, a black baseball cap and a T-shirt emblazoned with “Rammstein,” the German heavy metallic band. (Sigh.) The group is understood for its stage pyrotechnics and has had brushes with controversy, from prices of indecency to accusations of fascist sympathies, which the band has denied. (Sigh.)

Rick Owens, who was born in California however has constructed his enterprise in Paris, obtained the lifetime achievement award, although he's not but 60 and presumably nonetheless has a protracted stretch of profession forward of him. Certainly, his work these previous few seasons have been some of his most provocative, compelling and, fairly merely, stunning.

His work was introduced in a brief movie, that had fashions in sweeping feathered coats strolling via a rocky, Nevada panorama — like otherworldly creatures on an unspoiled vista. He spoke about the significance of being heard and feeling seen. Fashion has been his microphone and his stage.

Janelle Monáe in a Christian Siriano jumpsuit at the CFDA awards dinner. (Nicholas Hunt/Getty Pictures)

However the most emotional reception was reserved for Richards, alongside together with her fellow honorees, feminist icon Gloria Steinem and singer-actress Janelle Monáe. The CFDA board of administrators was impressed to have fun them after the Girls’s March on Washington, arguably the yr’s biggest “fashion second,” when a whole lot of hundreds of marchers converged on the nation’s capital carrying pink “pussy hats.” The trio didn’t arrange the march, however their ongoing work displays many of the issues that it addressed. Monáe made them plain in her remarks.

“My relationship with fashion started with my music and with a manner of paying homage to my working-class mother and father. . . I stand right here in my black and white giving honor to them,” stated Monáe, in a Christian Siriano jumpsuit. “I attempt to give a voice to a neighborhood that looks like their voice doesn't matter.”

After which as she warmed to her viewers, Monáe leaned in. “Girls’s rights are human rights, LGBTQ rights are human rights, poor people’ rights are human rights, immigrant rights are human rights, minority rights are human rights,” she stated. “None of us are free till all of us are free.”

The viewers cheered. And American fashion drifted right into a misty evening.

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