Glitz, glamour, and one very see-through dress (thanks, Rihanna): all were on show at last night's CFDA Awards. Designers, models and celebrities alike descended on NYC's Lincoln Centre for the fashion world's answer to the Oscars, with top honorees including Raf Simons, Tom Ford, Creatures of the Wind and Altuzarra. We round up the biggest winners and their stories from CFDA's big night out.
Rihanna accepted the 2014 Fashion Icon Award from Anna Wintour, who described her as proof that "incredible style can help take a talented young woman from a small island to the world stage, and along the way spark a lot of conversation about elegance and empowerment". It's no secret the fashion world has fallen in love with Rihanna – she scores front row seats at Paris Fashion Week for shows like Chanel, Givenchy and Dior. In March, she covered Vogue, which praised the "Rihanna Effect" and her influence on designers like Tom Ford and Olivier Rousteing of Balmain.
"Growing up, fashion was a defense mechanism," RiRi said onstage. "Even as a child I remember saying, 'she can beat me but she can't beat my outfit." Tonight's outfit? An Adam Selman dress embellished with 216,000 Swarovski crystals. So say what you want about Bad Gal RiRi, but she definitely knows how to make an entrance:
Ford picked up the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award, saying, "It’s been a wonderful 25 years and I could have never achieved it without all the people in this room." There's a sweet synchronicity to Ford picking up an award named for Beene: Ford actually landed his job at Gucci womenswear thanks to the celebrated American designer. When Ford was working on Seventh Avenue, he interviewed for a role at Geoffrey Beene's label. Unfortunately, Ford didn't land the position but Richard Lambertson, Beene's creative director, hired him when Lambertson moved to Gucci.
CREATURES OF THE WIND
Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters's label was a favourite to win the Swarovski Award for Womenswear, which recognises emerging designers – especially given that they'd been shortlisted for shortlisted for the LVMH prize and the Woolmark prize. The rise of their brand has been stratospheric, to say the least: the pair went from teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to winning runner-up in the 2011 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund competition in about seven months. Expect big things from the Chicago duo.
This was the first time Joseph Altuzarra was nominated for Womenswear Designer of the Year, but he wound up beating more established contenders like Alexander Wang and nine-time winner Marc Jacobs. The New York designer is on a winning streak, as far as the CFDA is concerned: in 2012, he picked up the award for emerging womenswear designer.
The CFDA awards were set up to recognise stateside talent – it is called the Council of Fashion Designers of America, after all. The International Award is an attempt to broaden the net and recognise designers beyond the US; last year, it went to Riccardo Tisci. This year, it goes to Raf Simons, which isn't too surprising given his fêted collections for Dior (including last month's US-centric Cruise take on the New Look). Simons wasn't immune to a little bit of stage nerves, though. "This is a very beautiful moment for me and for all of us at Dior," he said when accepting his award, before admitting, "I feel my heart beat in my tie." Read our longform interview with the designer here.
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