And we’re back! After going virtual for a year, the CFDA Fashion Awards returned last night with an in-person bash in Manhattan. The scaled-back but certainly well attended elegant affair, held at the Pool + the Grill inside the Seagram Building on Park Avenue, welcomed 300 fashion insiders to celebrate the biggest and buzziest names in the industry.
The evening began with cocktails and a welcome opportunity for those in attendance to reunite after nearly two years. Guests slowly made their way to the dining room for a Golden Globes style dinner and awards presentation. CFDA chairman Tom Ford kicked off the evening on stage welcoming CFDA members and VIP guests such as Vera Wang, Michael Kors, Christian Siriano, Drew Barrymore, Emily Ratajkowski, Natasha Poly, Nicole Miller, Karlie Kloss, Dove Cameron, Precious Lee, Candice Huffine, Simon Rex, Blake Gray, Rachel Zegler, Wes Gordon, and Cynthia Rowley.
“We never lost faith in the power of American fashion,” Ford told the crowd. “When I began my job as chairman, my goal was to help the American fashion industry become more globally recognized for its importance and the talent that is here. Little did we know that a pandemic would shut the world down and change the course of our lives and our businesses forever. But with COVID, came incredible creativity. It forced us all to think in a different way.”
This year’s show (thanks to Tom Ford) was hosted by actress Emily Blunt, who proved to be a charming MC in Christopher John Rogers and a sequin look from Michael Kors Collection’s Spring ’22 offering. Fittingly, Blunt was on hand to present Rogers with his expected American Womenswear Designer of the Year win. A surprised Rogers beat out Catherine Holstein of KHAITE, Gabriela Hearst, Marc Jacobs, and Peter Do.
Blunt also presented the American Menswear Designer of the Year award to Emily Bode Aujla of Bode. Ciara presented Telfar Clemens of Telfar with the American Accessories Designer of the Year, while HoYeon Jung presented the American Emerging Designer of the Year to Edvin Thompson of Theophilio. The Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Dapper Dan by Valerie Steele
Zendaya was the youngest recipient ever of the Fashion Icon honor, presented by Iman, who took home the award in 2010. “I don’t know about you, but I feel in this room a sense of hope, innovation, ingenuity, and a true sense of togetherness and support.” Zendaya said. “I was a really shy kid and I kind of still am, but fashion did something special for me. It gave me the extraordinary gift of transformation. The ability to become and embody all these different characters and to become literally anybody I wanted to be. ”
Cara Delevingne presented The Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy with the CFDA’s first-ever Face of the Year award. She wore a purple Oscar de la Renta blazer mini dress with a Gigi Burris hat to accept her Trova. “Since this is the Face [award], I guess I have to thank my parents,” she joked. “Apparently they made something people are starting to like.”
Carolyn Murphy presented Patagonia with the Environmental Sustainability Award, which was accepted by Patagonia’s district environmental coordinator Rebecca Goodstein. Yeohlee Teng received the Board of Directors’ Tribute, which was presented by Michael Kors. Paloma Elsesser presented Demna Gvasalia of Balenciaga with the International Women’s Designer of the Year award. The model also announced that Grace Wales Bonner of Wales Bonner is this year’s International Men’s Designer of the Year, while Jeremy O. Harris accepted on her behalf.
ELLE’s Nina Garcia (also wearing Michael Kors Collection) took home the Media Award in honor of Eugenia Sheppard.
“As I started out in this industry, I was one of the very few Latinas,” Garcia said. “I am proud to see so many faces like mine in this room today. To see more diverse voices reflected in fashion media. And to see more talented individuals being given the space to tell their stories.”
Highlights of the night included Aurora James taking home the The Founder’s Award in honor of Eleanor Lambert, presented by Anna Wintour. James was awarded for founding 15 Percent Pledge, a nonprofit that seeks corporate commitment to supporting Black-owned businesses. Wintour recalled James once told her she was a crier. “Her honesty was so disarming, but Aurora doesn’t spill her tears because of nerves or fears or frustration,” Wintour said. “They’re part of her empathetic makeup. Something that is true to her and her unwavering ambition to make the world a better place.”
Sara Ziff received the Positive Social Influence Award for The Model Alliance. Industry icons Beverly Johnson and Carré Otis presented the award to the advocate, and recounted their own personal experience with assault and abuse throughout their careers and the importance of the alliance. “My heart breaks remembering how alone I felt at the time and that changed when I joined the Model Alliance,” Otis said. “I learned my legal rights and received the support I needed to seek justice in court.”
Nominees, honorees, and winners were voted by the CFDA Awards Guild, which is comprised of CFDA members, fashion journalists, stylists, and top retail executives. The event raised funds for the CFDA Scholarship program which celebrates its 25th Anniversary this year.
Check out some of the best looks of the night:
All images by BFA
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