Last night’s CFDA awards show ran smoothly. The little videos which announced nominees and honorees were clever and well-done (I especially liked the video introducing the womenswear designer of the year nominees, which featured Liya Kebede, Hilary Rhoda and Jessica Stam reading dialogue from classic movies like Pulp Fiction and When Harry Met Sally to comic effect). Presenters and honorees gave touching humble speeches. Most importantly, though, nothing ran too long. I overheard much murmuring after the show to that effect. “The Council of Fashion Designers of America finally has its annual awards show down pat,” the New York Times‘s Cathy Horyn wrote.
The other easy consensus from the night? Secretary Hillary Clinton stole the show.
While host Andy Cohen had a hard time eliciting so much as a chuckle from the oh-so-serious fashion crowd, Clinton, there to present the Eleanor Lambert founder’s award to her buddy Oscar de la Renta, had no trouble bringing the entire auditorium to its feet.
“Now that I have some more time on my hands I am going to be pitching Andy and others on a new show for Bravo to sort of fill that gap that is so apparent to some of us,” Clinton said, wearing a midnight blue glittering pantsuit by Oscar de la Renta. “We could call it Project Pantsuit.” The crowd went wild. (“Project Pantsuit is totally a go,” Cohen said later on. “Madeleine Albright is doing the first challenge.”)
And the jokes didn’t stop there.
Recalling her first meeting with Oscar de la Renta in 1993–the receiving line at the White House for the Kennedy Center Honors–she said:
So I reached out to shake Oscar’s hand and he looked me up and down and said, That’s one of my dresses. I was then as I am now, such a fashion icon myself. So I said ‘Really? Well you know I bought it to wear to this occasion.’ And he said ‘Turn around.’ And I thought ‘I’m being examined by Oscar de la Renta.’ But it started a great friendship that has meant the world to me and to my family and we have spent time together, laughed together, worked together over these past 20 years.’
It seems de la Renta values his friendship with Clinton just as much if not more–and thinks very highly of her. “I hope that she’s going to be our next President,” de la Renta announced during his acceptance speech, a proclamation that was meant with rousing applause. It seems Clinton has the fashion industry’s support should she make a run for it in 2016.
And maybe, just maybe, de la Renta and Clinton’s deep bond explains the lack of one he has with First Lady Michelle Obama–who has never worn his designs. Maybe he’s just waiting to dress the President.