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“If you hate me, that’s OK,” Seth Meyers said Monday night onstage at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center where he hosted the CFDA Awards. “Fashion people like hating things more than they like liking things.”
While that may be true most of the time, it was an industry love-in Monday night as the council celebrated not only 2012’s winning designers but 50 years of its own existence.
An opening video and fashion show played up the five-decade history of the CFDA in a dramatic stroke. As president Diane von Furstenberg strode onstage, she looked back via historical fashion shows to 1962 when ready-to-wear and sportswear companies existed but designers were kept in back rooms.
Over cocktails, attendees contemplated how exactly American fashion could be defined in 2012.
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“With American fashion, there’s this great sense of freedom,” said Jessica Chastain, on hand to present Womenswear Designer of the Year, and clad in Prabal Gurung. “We really celebrate people who came from nothing then [get] the key to the castle. With American fashion, it’s the freedom to create whatever you want out of nothing.”
Marc Jacobs didn’t miss a beat before offering: “I don’t really have one.”
As for the winners, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen’s The Row took top honors with the Womenswear Designer of the Year award; Billy Reid received the Menswear Designer of the Year and Reed Krakoff won the Accessory Designer of the Year. The 2012 CFDA Fashion Awards’ Swarovski Award for emerging talents went to Joseph Altuzarra in the Womenswear category; Phillip Lim in Menswear, and Tabitha Simmons in Accessory Design.
As expected, neither Johnny Depp not Rei Kawakubo picked up their respective Fashion Icon and International Awards. John Waters was eager to accept on behalf of each. “Both winners are my idols,” the director said.
Tommy Hilfiger headlined the night’s honorees in attendance, accepting the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award. Andrew Rosen received the Founders Award and Scott Schuman and Garance Doré were given the Media Award.
Hilfiger was in an appropriately reflective mood given the tone of the evening.
“It’s been a journey,” he smiled on the way into the theater. “And it feels like yesterday.”