Fashion’s second biggest fashion event (the MET Gala being the first) happened on Wednesday November 10th, the CFDA Awards. Some of the biggest names in fashion attended an in-person extravaganza for industry insiders at the Pool + the Grill, located in the Seagram Building on Park Avenue in Manhattan. The mezzanine, in the back of The Grill, proved the perfect perch from which to ogle the guests. The energy of the night was filled with excitement and awe. All of fashion’s heavy hitters were in attendance, as well as some very well-dressed celebrities.
“I’m so happy to be back at a fashion gathering,” said Tom Ford to Vogue Magazine as he stepped away from cocktails for a moment to reflect on the evening. “I’ve been Chairman of the CFDA for almost three years and this is the first CFDA Awards I’ve been able to host. We wanted it to be much more intimate, but still very chic.”
The award ceremony, hosted by British actress Emily Blunt (of Devil Wears Prada fame), was held in front of a live audience and a troupe of celebrity presenters (last year’s ceremony was all digital due to the COVID-19 Pandemic). Some of the honorees were announced ahead of the awards ceremony, such as Zendaya winning the Fashion Icon Award, as well as Anya Taylor-Joy winning the first ever Face of the Year Award.
But, let’s face it, if it weren’t for their fashion stylists, would these gals have won these awards? Case in point, this year’s The Hollywood Reporter Top Stylist of the Year Award went to Law Roach (who also works with Anya Taylor-Joy, Kerry Washington, Tiffany Haddish, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Aldis Hodge, Tom Holland and Hunter Schafer). Read about the 12 stylists that you should be following on Instagram: https://www.crfashionbook.com/fashion/a36632100/12-stylists-you-should-be-following-on-instagram/
Tom Ford’s mission for the 2021 CFDA Awards was to promote the talent that America has to offer. “I’m excited to show how American fashion has impacted the rest of the world, whether the rest of the world is ready to acknowledge that or not,” he said to Vogue Magazine. “That is my goal, to help the rest of the world understand how much they have taken and how much America has given to fashion globally.”
Demna Gvasalia, the creative director behind Balenciaga, and winner of the International Womenswear Designer of the Year Award couldn’t have agreed more with Ford. “American fashion has had the biggest impact it could have on someone like me. I was a Soviet kid who grew up in a country where people didn’t even know that fashion designer was a profession,” he said, holding his CFDA statuette. “The first time I discovered that you could be a fashion designer was when I discovered Tom Ford, when I was 10 or 11 years old. My dream of fashion actually began with discovering Tom Ford.”
“It’s not something I ever could have dreamt of to be here tonight and to have this kind of award,” Gvasalia continued. “I feel like I’ve been fighting for my place in fashion and to receive this award today, it’s like three years worth of therapy in some way. It’s the most amazing feeling, to feel heard, seen, and understood, and that’s what this award represents to me. It’s amazing. I don’t feel alone anymore.”
Feeling seen and accepted was a common theme throughout the night. Emerging Designer of the Year winner Edvin Thompson of Theophilio stated after his win, “It represents my community, Jamaica, and really carving out a space in the fashion industry to tell our stories.”
Sara Ziff, the founder of The Model Alliance, received the Positive Social Influence Award. The award gave the former model the opportunity to continue the discussion around models’ rights. “It’ll be a decade [since I started the Model Alliance] in February so it’s been quite a long road. Of course it’s nice to be recognized, but I wanted it to be meaningful and that’s why I used the opportunity to ask the industry to step up and do better,” she said of the decision to ask Carré Otis and Beverly Johnson to share their stories of abuse in the modeling industry before presenting Ziff with her CFDA trophy. “What keeps me going is I know that we’re on the right side of history,” Ziff stated.
Aurora James, the Creative Director and Founder of luxury accessories brand Brother Vellies, as well as the founder of the Fifteen Percent Pledge (James became an advocate for Black businesses). After receiving the Founders Award in Honor of Eleanor Lambert from Vogue’s Anna Wintour, James reflected on her award. “I am over the moon to receive this award; it means so much. The amount of emotional capital that I spent over the past 18 months working on the Fifteen Percent Pledge and that my whole organization spent relentlessly day in and day out fighting for economic equality—it just feels so incredible to be acknowledged in this way for all the hard work that we’ve done,” she said.
The winner on the Fashion Icon Award, Zendaya, was nearly speechless after receiving her award from Iman, listing the model, Cher, Diana Ross, and her grandmothers among her own fashion icons. “I’m speechless,” Zendaya said with a stunned smile. “I just got an award and Iman gave it to me! I’m still not over that.”
The final two awards of the night went to Emily Bode Aujla who won for Menswear Designer of the Year and Christopher John Rogers for Womenswear Designer of the Year. “It’s so inspiring to see all of the change that all of the people in this room have created,” said Bode Aujla as she revealed that she will be opening a west coast store. “Something that I’ve bet on is retail. Our New York store is surpassing our online right now by 30%,” she added.
Rogers is also focusing on the future of his brand, “The sky’s the limit. We’re really about intentionality at CJR and about moving with purpose. Whatever it is next will hopefully be as impactful and full as what we’re doing now.”
Below is a list of all the winners of the most fashionable awards show:
American Womenswear Designer of the Year: Christopher John Rogers for Christopher John Rogers.
American Menswear Designer of the Year: Emily Adams Bode for Bode.
American Accessories Designer of the Year: Telfar Clemens for Telfar.
American Emerging Designer of the Year: Edvin Thompson for Theophilio.
International Women’s Designer of the Year: Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga.
International Men’s Designer of the Year: Grace Wales Bonner for Wales Bonner.
Fashion Icon: Zendaya.
Face of the Year: Anya Taylor-Joy.
Positive Social Influence Award: Model Alliance.
Founder’s Award in honor of Eleanor Lambert: Aurora James for the 15 Percent Pledge.
Environmental Sustainability Award: Patagonia.
Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award: Dapper Dan.
Media Award in honor of Eugenia Sheppard: Nina Garcia.
Board of Directors’ Tribute: Yeohlee Teng.