Glory & Glitches

"Well, that was an odd evening," one designer mused.

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Donna Karan and Calvin Klein

Photo By Steve Eichner and Kristen Somody

"Well, that was an odd evening," one designer mused at the end of the long (but, thankfully, not tooooo long) CFDA awards Monday night. "Not bad, mind you. Just odd."

And there were certainly plenty of off-kilter — as well as heartfelt — moments throughout the night. Just as the ceremony appeared to be running unusually smoothly under Team Captain Diane von Furstenberg — who cracked the figurative whip as she personally shooed guests downstairs to dinner to keep to schedule — things started to get quirky almost from the moment the awards themselves began. (OK, the food was a problem again — fish in paper? At least it arrived promptly this time around.)

Once again, the videos proved to be too long and, at times, downright weird, ranging from naked women and men flitting about for the Swarovski men's wear nominees to meditating men lulling the audience to sleep in the one for Menswear Designer of the Year. One exception: the zippy retrospective of 25 years of CFDA awards.

But the CFDA should pass a rule that awards don't go to people who don't show. Sure, Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson, are doing great things, but are they really so busy they couldn't drop in from Dublin to pick up their statue for the Board of Directors' Special Tribute? Another proposed rule: If you can't get the real thing, don't go for the impersonator. Case in point: poor comedienne Nicole Parker's impersonation of a handbag-laden Ellen DeGeneres proved just how tough the fashion crowd can be — they sat stone-faced as she died a slow, but nevertheless well-accessorized, death on stage.

The group then became utterly confused when Pierre Cardin decided to accept his International Award with a five-minute soliloquy — completely in French, even though he speaks fluent English. "I wasn't going to translate for him," joked Marc Jacobs, who introduced Cardin. "Everyone in the room has been to Paris at least once, so they should have been able to understand him."

But for every bump, the evening at times soared to the heights it should achieve. Uma Thurman's take on being able to understand Patrick Demarchelier was funny, especially when the unintelligible photographer appeared on his video, as was Robert Lee Morris' description of his outfit — complete with eight-foot spear and wrist-to-elbow bangles — when he went to a party for Andy Warhol, which left the designer wondering, "What kind of person have I become?"
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