The awe-inspiring surroundings of the American Museum of Natural History played second fiddle last night as celebrities, designers, and tastemakers descended on the institution for the annual CFDA Fashion Awards. Beyond recognizing the power of the American industry and its key players, the evening celebrated the intersection of fashion and pop culture, with nods to the influence of hip hop, sports, and entertainment. The event even incorporated a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the legendary Battle of Versailles, which irrevocably put designers Stateside on the pedestal they deserved in the eyes of an international audience.
Anne Hathaway was on hosting duty for the ceremony, which was presented by Amazon Fashion. To kick things off, designer Thom Browne welcomed honorees, nominees, and guests with opening remarks, marking his first CFDA Fashion Awards since taking up his post as chairman. Browne was also nominated for Menswear Designer of the Year, a title which would ultimately go to Willy Chavarria. Presenting the honor, J Balvin and Greg Lauren presented the award to Chavarria, while his guests for the evening, musicians Rauw Alejandro and Tokischa, cheered on wearing his designs.
For the second year in a row, Catherine Holstein of Khaite was named American Womenswear Designer of the Year, which was presented to her by Narciso Rodriguez and Hathaway. The Bear actress Ayo Edebiri and designer Prabal Gurung were on hand to announce that Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen of The Row had won the American Accessory Designer of the Year category (the design duo were not in attendance), while Charles Melton and Zac Posen presented the Shop with Google American Emerging Designer of the Year award to Rachel Scott of Diotima.
The evening recognized several high profile, needs-no-introduction names in various categories. Kim Kardashian was in town from LA to present tennis champ Serena Williams with the Fashion Icon of the Year honor. Gwyneth Paltrow also flew in from the West Coast to receive the Innovation Award on behalf of Goop. Doing the honors, her pal Demi Moore, dressed in a glittering silver column gown by Carolina Herrera, handed over the award along with Amazon Fashion president, Muge Erdirik Dogan.
Vanessa Hudgens presented the Board of Directors’ Tribute to Vera Wang for her game-changing impact on the bridal category. Naomi Watts introduced Alina Cho as she bestowed the journalist with the Media Award in honor of Eugenia Sheppard. The Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award was given to designer Maria Cornejo by actress Laura Linney. Mara Hoffman’s namesake brand’s achievements were celebrated with the Environmental Sustainability Award, which was presented to her by Rosario Dawson. The Morning Show star Greta Lee was enlisted to present the International Award to designer Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson and Loewe. And former CFDA chairman Tom Ford handed over The Founder’s Award in honor of Eleanor Lambert to Domenico De Sole, his longtime executive from way back in the Gucci days.
Program highlights also included a tribute to the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, featuring a film by music video director Hype Williams and made possible by New Era. Mary J. Blige introduced the film, which includes Missy Elliott, LL Cool J, June Ambrose, Biz Markie, and Salt-N-Pepa, with music by Pharrell. Speaking of cultural icons! Stephen Burrows, one of the five American designers who participated in the legendary Battle of Versailles design competition event in Paris in November 1973, took to the stage alongside original models Bethann Hardison and Pat Cleveland to nod to the 50th anniversary of the seminal moment.
The night once again brought out the biggest names in fashion, with an illustrious crowd that included Anna Wintour, Andrew Bolton, Nina Garcia, Diane von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, Martha Stewart, Eva Chen, Ariana DeBose, Ashley Graham, Coco Rocha, Fernando Garcia, Laura Kim, Joseph Altuzarra, Dennis Basso, Cynthia Rowley, Christian Siriano, Wes Gordon, Lily Aldridge, Jason Wu, June Ambrose, Aurora James, Chloe Sevigny, Jennifer Fisher, Jonathan Simkhai, , LaQuan Smith, Emily Ratajkowski, Jenna Lyons, Alton Mason, Emma Chamberlain, Hari Nef, Paloma Elsesser, Quinta Brunson, Cynthia Erivo, Saweetie, Amelia Gray Hamlin, Camila Mendes, Chase Stokes, Devon Lee Carlson, Dove Cameron, Jane Krakowski, Jasmin Larian Hekmat, Jordyn Woods, Kim Petras, La La Anthony, Lakeith Stanfield, Leandra Medine Cohen, Lil Yachty, Liza Koshy, Lola Tung, Lori Harvey, Madelyn Cline, Molly Ringwald, Morgan Stewart McGraw, Nicky Rothschild, Stacey Bendet Eisner, Stephanie Horton, Stephanie Hsu, Teyana Taylor, Tommy Dorfman, Valentina Ferrer, Winnie Harlow, Wisdom Kaye, and many more.