2011 CFDA Awards: From Kanye and Phoebe to Sofia and Marc

Last night's CFDA Awards were a decidedly star-studded affair, what with Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Sofia Coppola, Jessica Alba, Gerard Butler, Naomi Watts, and host Anderson Cooper spending time on the stage. Cooper had to leave early because of "that Weiner thing," or so Diane von Furstenberg said, but otherwise the audience received plenty of face time with their star of choice--there were even a couple of moments when one could forget this was, you know, a fashion industry event. But only a couple.
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Last night's CFDA Awards were a decidedly star-studded affair, what with Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Sofia Coppola, Jessica Alba, Gerard Butler, Naomi Watts, and host Anderson Cooper spending time on the stage. Cooper had to leave early because of "that Weiner thing," or so Diane von Furstenberg said, but otherwise the audience received plenty of face time with their star of choice--there were even a couple of moments when one could forget this was, you know, a fashion industry event. But only a couple.
Sofia and Marc. Getty.

Sofia and Marc. Getty.

Last night's CFDA Awards were a decidedly star-studded affair, what with Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Sofia Coppola, Jessica Alba, Gerard Butler, Naomi Watts, and host Anderson Cooper spending time on the stage. Cooper had to leave early because of "that Weiner thing," or so Diane von Furstenberg said, but otherwise the audience received plenty of face time with their star of choice--there were even a couple of moments when one could forget this was, you know, a fashion industry event. But only a couple.

The evening began with a toast to Hilary Alexander, who was presented the Eugenia Sheppard award by Michael Kors. Alexander, as if you didn't know, is retiring this month from her post at the Daily Telegraph and plans on getting a degree in archeology....

Next up was "geriatric starlet" (her words, not ours) Iris Apfel, who before presenting the Accessories Designer of the Year award to Alexander Wang, told a little ditty about how her first employer--WWD, natch--paid her just $15/week. "But that was common in those days."

Michael Bastian received the Menswear Designer of the Year award from Gerard Butler, and Hal Rubenstein received the Eleanor Lambert award from Jessica Alba (who was wearing a lovely DvF dress). To celebrate Swarovski's decade-long support of the CFDA, nearly all the former winners (including Jason Wu and Zac Posen) graced the stage to present Nadja Swarovski with her very own Trova.

Soon enough Kanye West appeared, proclaiming his devotion to the world of Phoebe Philo. "I don't get up on stage unless I really believe in something," he pledged. The Céline designer accepted the International Designer of the Year award in a stunning tux of her own design. Best-dressed of the night, for sure.

And then there was Gaga. The CFDA Fashion Icon of the Year stepped on stage in a studded thong and 24-inch backless heels. She talked rats, fashion, and accidentally calling Anna Wintour a bitch. Read more here--we had to devote an entire story to her.

Then the great Grace Coddington appeared on stage to present photographer Arthur Elgort with the Board of Directors' Special Tribute award. The reel of his images was definitely the most captivating part of the night. (Even more captivating than Gaga's thong, we might argue.)

Karolina Kurkova sang a bit of Gaga before presenting the Swarovski awards to up-and-coming designers Eddie Borgo (accessories), Robert Geller (menswear), and Prabal Gurung (womenswear). (She was actually pretty good.) Each of these guys is very humble, but the most memorable speech came from Gurung, who addressed his fellow nominee Joseph Altuzarra directly. "This award truly is as much yours as it is mine," he said. "People are always pitting us against each other, but it's not like that. You make the playground more interesting."

Finally, it was time for the two biggest awards of the evening. First up were Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler, who won Womenswear Designers of the Year, and quite rightly. "We are so honored to receive this award and to join the impressive roster of designers to come before us--a list of individuals we have so much respect for," the duo said in a statement released soon after the evening ended.

But before it did, there was Marc. Sofia Coppola presented the "Half-Lifetime Achievement Award" to Mr. Jacobs, saying that when she met him in the early '90s, "I felt like someone was making clothes for me...for the first time." We remember feeling that way, too. Marc said many thank yous, but the most important was to his business partner Robert Duffy. In fact, he actually accepted the award on behalf of both of them. To work with someone for over 25 years and still feel that indebted and connected? That's one for the fashion history books.