CFDA: Quiet Force
image via Vanityfair.com
The 2012 CFDA awards took place at Lincoln center on Monday before a mixed crowd of writers, actors, designers and designer muses. SNL writer Seth Myers was a handy pick for emcee, keeping the chuckles consistent, if slightly uncomfortable, with his sometimes outrageous ripostes at all things Fashion. Though two of the honorees, Johnny Depp and Rei Kawukobo, were conspicuously absent, the festivities went on unhindered. Zoe Saldana smoldered in a long-sleeved Prabal Gurung gown with mesh insets, Swarovski honoree Tabitha Simmons chose a structured orientalist number in champagne and mint from the Proenza Schouler Fall show and Matt Bomer looked disgustingly handsome in a midnight Calvin Klein Collection Tux. Other, err, more inspired looks included Michelle Harper’s right nipple in a squiggle of Christian Cota designed drapery and Mr. Meyers on stage in a oddly familiar lace Comme des Garcons frock.
Red Carpet gowns and funny-man host aside, Monday night’s event was a surprisingly muted affair. Several of the night’s winners have made their names on quiet luxury, minimalism with panache if you will. Robin Givhan, fashion columnist for the Daily Beast, wrote that this year’s event celebrated not the glitz and glamour of fashion, but rather the “reality of how it works.” In such a reality, a refined sense of cut and fabric paired with wearable proportions seem to be the hallmarks of success. Two labels that exemplify these values, The Row by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and Billy Reid, won the coveted womenswear and menswear awards for this year, cementing their respective places within the fashion pantheon with nary a PR spectacle in sight–unless you count stellar sell throughs in a struggling retail landscape as tabloid fodder…
Other notable winners included Reed Krakoff for accessories and Philip Lim for new menswear designer. Both are established names who have recently forayed into new markets. Krakoff was a creative director at Coach before he started his eponymous line 2 years ago and Philip Lim has been a power player in the contemporary women’s market for years, working a utilitarian brand of whimsy that rarely misfires. Garance Dore and Scott Schuman, the real-life couple behind two of the most influential style blogs out there, were awarded the council’s first ever media award in honor of Eugenia Shepard. Their award acceptance included this video, a touching piece cobbled together from the video submissions of online fans.
Mention must also be made of the night’s Lifetime Achievement Tommy Hilfiger, who was welcomed to the stage in classic prepster fashion by a group of warbling Princetonians. With his dimpled smile and full head of hair, Hilfiger has the appearance of eternal boyishness; yet the man has been a pillar of the American Fashion industry for nearly 30 years, quite a feat for a guy who started out operating a lonely store in Elmira, New York called People’s Place. Hilfiger recently showed a powerful menswear collection for Fall 2012. If the very contemporary look of the clothes–bonded leather coats, military tailoring and a tight color palette of charcoals and claret reds–was any indication, Mr. Hilfiger should be in business for 30 or more years to come.
Watch a live Broadcast of the CFDA awards @ Style.com
–Thomas Dai 14′