The 11th Annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards – Style.com
A milliner. Eyewear designers. A denim label. A menswear trio. As Anna Wintour put it at tonight’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards, this year’s class was marked by a singular characteristic: diversity. “If we could’ve, we’d have given an award to each and every one of you this morning,” she said from the stage. It was a sentiment that was echoed by jury member Ken Downing of Neiman Marcus during cocktail hour at Spring Studios. “It was truly judging apples to oranges to bananas to kiwis to cucumbers, because none of them are similar in any way,” he said. “Each one of the designers is very different in their aesthetic and very different in their approach to what they do, which actually made it sort of hard.”
Perseverance through difficulty was one of the through-lines of Stella McCartney’s keynote speech, the first to be delivered by a woman in the Fund’s 11-year history. McCartney recounted her earliest days as a designer: sketching at age 12; pursuing and landing internships at 15; and attending Central Saint Martins, “where if you weren’t making dresses with spaghetti, you were doing something wrong.” She challenged the audience to start thinking more responsibly about the industry’s impact on the environment. “I don’t want to be the exception,” she said, referring to her staunch opposition to fur, leather, and PVC. “I want to be the rule.” And for aspiring designers, she had two big pieces of advice: Go to Paris, if you can (a sentiment greeted somewhat less than enthusiastically by the New York crowd) and hold onto your name (an idea that drew some of the evening’s loudest applause).
As usual, the room was packed with bold-facers from a variety of fields: tennis pros Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki, Hollywood up-and-comers in the form of Emily Ratajkowski and Eve Hewson, previous Fund winners, and more than enough models for a Stella McCartney show—all of them being filmed by multiple video crews. As CFDA CEO Steven Kolb reminded us, season two of the Ovation series The Fashion Fund premieres this Wednesday.
In the end, the runners-up prizes went to Eva Fehren jeweler Eva Zuckerman and knitwear designer Ryan Roche, with the top prize going to shoemaker Paul Andrew. Asked what he plans to do with the $300,000 award, Andrew reported he has nothing short of a footwear revolution in mind: a truly comfortable high heel. He also said that the mentor he’s got his eye on has yet to accept his invitation. Here’s hoping that they do. That’s the kind of story we’d tune in for.