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NEW YORK — In a room full of too-cool designers and been-there, done-that celebrities at Alice Tully Hall on Monday night, Andy Cohen summed up the sentiment easily.
“OMFG, CFDA, Secretary Clinton is in the house,” the Bravo executive turned talk show host said opening up his hosting duties at the 2013 CFDA Awards at Lincoln Center.
Indeed, former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton stole the show early on Monday. Handing out the organization’s Eleanor Lambert Founders Award to Oscar de la Renta, Clinton praised her longtime friend not only for his 50-year design career, but also “his life and work,” “great immigrant story” and contributions “to the American melting pot.”
De la Renta returned the favor upon accepting, openly hoping that Clinton would take the White House in 2016. She gracefully demurred.
After both Clinton and de la Renta had decamped early (for Henry Kissinger’s 90th birthday, natch), the rest of the night’s awards, underwritten by Swarovski, got under way.
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Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez for Proenza Schouler were winners in the night’s marquee category, Womenswear Designer of the Year. It was the pair’s fifth year in 10 years, though Hernandez was nonchalant heading into the ceremony during cocktail hour.
“Four, I think,” he said when asked how many times they had already won. And had they prepared a speech? “Nah. No.”
The Swarovski Awards for emerging talent went to Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty for Suno for women’s wear, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne for Public School for men’s wear, and Pamela Love for accessory design.
Thom Browne received the night’s Menswear Designer of the Year award, while Phillip Lim for 3.1 Phillip Lim won in the accessories category.
As for the evening’s special honorees, Tim Blanks got the Media Award in honor of Eugenia Sheppard presented by Linda Evangelista while costume designer Colleen Atwood received the Board of Directors Tribute Award from Hawke, who praised her work on the one film they’ve worked on together, “Gattaca.”
Vera Wang took home the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to her by Ralph Lauren. Asked if the award meant it was time to retire, Wang smiled. “Maybe there’s a message,” she said. “It’s such an honor.”
Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci took home the International Award, presented by Jessica Chastain. The pair arrived together before Chastain departed to rehearse.
“It’s a dream come true,” the designer said, treading territory similar to Clinton’s later remarks about de la Renta. “You know, I’m Italian, and since I was a kid, my big obsession was America. To be recognized in America…was one of the biggest gifts of my career.”