The Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards took place, on Monday night. The ceremony was held at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City and hosted by Seth Meyers.
Often called “The Academy Awards” of fashion, the CFDA Awards honor excellence in fashion design. This year, designer Raf Simons of Calvin Klein, was the big winner of the night. Taking home both womenswear and menswear honors – which is a pretty rare achievement.
Kenneth Cole won the first ‘Swarovski Award’ for Positive Change. After using his advertisements as platforms to address different social issues, like homelessness and AIDS.
The ‘Swarovski Award’ for emerging talent went to Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, designers for Monse label and Oscar de la Renta. Stuart Vevers of ‘Coach’ earned the ‘Accessory Designer of the Year Award’. Other winners include designer Rick Owens, who was awarded a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’. Makeup artist Pat McGrath, who won the ‘Founder’s Award’ and Demna Gvasalia for ‘Vetements.’ Balenciaga was given the ‘International Award’.
The ‘Fashion Icon Award’ was given posthumously to former editor in chief of Italian Vogue, Franca Sozzani, who passed away in December. The award was presented by Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, who could hardly hold her tears back during her speech. It was accepted by Francesco Carrozzini, Sozzani’s son.
This year, the CFDA Awards had a more political tone
“This year, it’s been even harder to separate fashion from politics,” said Seth Meyers. The comment perfectly described the ceremony, as it had an activist bent. Recognizing a series of women closely linked to different associations and organizations with social purposes. But also, most of the awarded took the time to address their political concerns during their speeches.
The Board of Directors’ Tribute honored feminist icon Gloria Steinem, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, and singer and actress Janelle Monae. For “their tireless work and achievements on behalf of women, and the powerful voice each had at the historic Women’s March,” according to a statement released in March when the winners were announced.
The three were presented by designer Diane von Furstenberg.
Steinem shared some thoughts about President Donald Trump, calling this “a time of hope but also of danger” for the U.S. She also talked about how hard things are currently for women who are just seeking for equality and “simple humanity.” She said, “Now there is more activism than I have ever seen in my lifetime. Maybe we are about to be free.”
Richards was the next to go onstage, beginning her speech saying, “health care isn’t a privilege, it’s a fundamental human right,” followed by cheers from the crowd. She then talked about how fashion is so linked to bodily autonomy and free expression, and how each person decides to live their own life. “In this moment, at a time when these principles are being threatened like never before, you are rising up to fight back,” she said, and thanked the CFDA for “proving that looking good and doing good go hand in hand.”
Then Monae took the mic to talk about how important the March in Washington was for her. She recalled seeing people of all kinds: young, old, gay, straight, and from many different religions. “It didn’t matter because they were together as human beings, and that’s the one thing that left me,” she said.
She finished her speech by asking the crowd to raise their voices against whatever they consider is an injustice, like sexism, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, “and all those things that are constantly trying to divide us.”