On Monday, practically every fucking person on planet earth dressed up for the mighty CFDA Awards, the evening the Council of Fashion Designers of America and their benevolent queen Anna Wintour knight the great purveyors of high fashion clothing you and I will be wearing three months from now, in their Zara incarnation.
Because fashion is the most important thing on planet earth, the CFDA invited all of its denizens to attend this important coronation. World leaders such as Kim Kardashian and Chelsea Clinton gave speeches. Fashion and the people who love it were celebrated. And on the red carpet, by these important people of earth: shit got wore. Much of it was grand and beautiful and creative though, let’s face it, no one will ever be able to top Rihanna’s crystal scrim. (Rihanna was, conspicuously, not present.) Nevertheless, let’s motor down the memory lane of last night and check out said shit.
The ensembles ranged in formality, though everyone kept it super-crispy. Model Anna Ewers, in custom Alexander Wang, was one of my faves, and not just for the fact that her dress was made of fricking American Express gold cards, lodging a brilliant commentary on the transactional nature of the fashion industry, while also looking extremely badass; the industrial snowboard boots are a brilliant touch. I know I am normally skeptical of Wang but he knocked it out the park with this one. Natasha Poly’s red dress is pretty too, but I cannot see it past Ewers’ gilded mini.
Oh, gold! Gigi Hadid is basically an Academy Award in this stunning Michael Kors suit, a shimmery onesie that should remind us all of Studio 54 but somehow transcends the cliché. Jennifer Fisher and Joan Smalls are pristine in Memorial Day whites but nothing beats the sharp, flossy looks of stylist Mengly Hernandez and jewelry designer Simon Alcantara, who look near to perfect and ready for a polite, sophisticated garden party involving wine and horses, possibly in the 1940s. Memo to Mengly: fix my life?
Hood by Air designer Shayne Oliver and model Binx Watson were the most futuristic and looked like they were having the worst time which makes me like them more. God bless. For HBA, Oliver won the Swarovski Award for Menswear, for obvious reasons (see photograph at right). They are the antithesis of Anna Wintour, whose breezy floral is just a quantum leap away from Oliver’s confrontational dystopian aesthetics. The attitude, though, is similar; through Wintour’s smile she emits the aura of a woman thinking “I am too busy for this red carpet shit.”
Ladies in red (and marsala), you are phenomenal to varying degrees! Amber Venz Box’s drapey gown looks hella comfortable and unfussy—the cut is formally informal, whereas Jemima Kirke’s Rosie Assoulin nostril-esque crop top looks like it is more trouble than it’s worth. Celebrity stylist June Ambrose is another of my favorite looks, not least because she’s melding reds and pinks and dangly earrings—the mermaid train on that gown is a delight. Taraji P. Henson, out on every carpet, never not killing it, here in custom Vera Wang. Bless.
The world needs so much more of what Swarovski Accessory Award winners Floriana Gavriel and Rachel Mansur are doing here: playing the adult version of kid team-dress-up and looking stunning while doing so. Grimes showed up with Proenza Schouler designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCullough, obviously wearing one of their designs. I like it on her, but I can never quite get past her hairstyles, right now a kind of reverse tarantula ombré. Liya Kebede, with Joseph Altuzarra, looks great in anything, but especially bright graphic prints in the midst of a summer rainstorm.
Can you believe Victoria Beckham and Hamish Bowles were allowed to walk on the street like actual humans? A travesty. Bowles always looks fantastic but I’m especially in love with this (and any) formal print suit, a good contrast to Posh Spice’s elegant minimalism. Love how Kanye West and Pharrell Williams look a bit like they’re playing dress-up; Pharrell is a ‘60s rude bwoy to Pharrell’s salon specialist. (Seriously, I think he is wearing one of those robes they give you when you get your haircut at bumble + bumble.) Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s line The Row is brilliant and deserves the womenswear designer of the year award.... but why are they rocking this Upper East Side power-mom look, and making poor Amanda Seyfried seem like a Vegas showgirl in contrast? Chanel ballet flats though? Anyway.
What did I tell you; these CFDAs will literally invite anyone! That said, I appreciate the presence of The Fat Jew, albeit a little befuddled by his presence; the sheer t-shirt and seersucker short set are well-accessorized by his bottle of White Girl Rosé, the wine he just launched and is pretty brilliant at promoting. (Where else but at fashion events are there copious white girls who love rosé, no?) Somehow Julianna Margulies drank the Kim K kool-aid and thought wearing a sheer bottom and some boyshorts would be a good idea. As you can see on Kim Kardashian herself, it’s not a good idea, even if that sheer thing is Proenza and looks crafted from your office supply closet. (Also, it caught on fire.) Rachel Zoe looks quite pretty in all this fringe, though, even though Rachel Zoe is totes the devs. (No, I am not going to stop eating, Rachel Zoe.)
Important Chelsea Clinton break. She gave a speech in memory of Oscar de la Renta. She did not walk the red carpet.
Goddammit fucking Di Mondo got invited. At least the socialite (?), menswear advocate (?), man-about-town (?) showed up in an interesting outfit as ever, which is to say: a jacket from the matrix and clear trousers. Do you think Diane von Furstenberg liked it? What about her Style Editor, Jessica Joffe? Probably a bit much for these two perennially elegant women. Probably Ofira Sandberg could dig it, because the jewelry designer was wearing what appears to be a hooded polo shrug over a green silk gown and some gold pumps. The hues are in a similar family.
Chrissy Teigen’s Solace gown could have gone the way of Jemima Kirke’s top, but it succeeded where others have failed, much like her life philosophy. This is one of the more interesting things Karlie Kloss has worn on the carpet recently, maybe just because it’s got some youth and color to it (it’s DvF, clearly). Katherine McPhee has maybe been studying at the Jenna Lyons school but it works for her, while designer Lisa Salzer went in a similarly structural direction with the top; I like the unexpectedness of both looks.
Ugh, Public School designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne are just the coolest dudes in New York; who the hell else can make a regular-ass tux look this cool? They’ve extended the favor to Canis Chow, Dao-Yi’s wife, and pop singer Banks, in a custom leather bustier. Too much cool, so much cool.
Model Imaan Hammam’s Creatures of the Wind-crafted party frock has more gravitas with heavier shoes, a study in proportions and I love it. Empress Janelle Monáe is the queen of my world in custom Tadashi Shoji (the designer accompanying her in the top photo), while Coca Rocha is more of an angelic overseer in that silvery night shift. Irene Neuwirth and January Jones went all-in with the seasonal crop top, Jones in J. Mendel. (That’s a jumpsuit, by the way; I love it but I worry how difficult the task of using the ladies’ might be. Does it untie? How does it tie back on? Film at 11.)
Katie Holmes’s minimalist slip dress could have come from the back of her Dawson’s closet, while Kelly Osbourne is giving us more of the aforementioned Studio 54 experience that’s so hard to avoid. At least she looks like she’s having fun. That’s Maya Thurman-Hawke in a beautifully embroidered Zac Posen dress; consider this something like a debutante party for celeb kids, who will all soon be making decisions that affect our lives in old age. TREAT THEM WELL. Designers Veronica Swanson and Veronica Miele Beard beat the system by designing their own stuff; of course they have to show up in their own clothes, and who can blame them if said clothes are just like, a comfortable flight jacket? I see their hustle, I respect it.
Juliette Lewis and Nina Dobrev: It’s Twins!*
*Who is Nina Dobrev
Finally: Jhené Aiko in Prabal Gurung; it’s about the equivalent of her music which is fine, inoffensive, there. At least Alice + Olivia’s Stacey Bendet is unforgettable in red jeans and, uh, a crochet floor-length vest? Is that what that is? I cannot tell. But I will not forget it.
Designer Tabitha Simmon went for smoking jacket realness with an elegance I must respect. Last but not least, singer Tinashe wore an unfailingly cool look by Public School (Public School! *shakes fist in awe of coolness*) and murked that shit. The murkage is real.
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Images via Getty.