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The Best Accessory to Bring to the CFDA Awards? A Good Date

Plus: See the Swarovski-studded creations the nominees have created in the lead-up.

On Tuesday evening, the nominees for the 2014 CFDA Awards gathered at cool Soho boutique Kirna Zabete.

Each nominee was tasked with creating a one-of-a-kind item customized with Swarovski crystals, centered around the theme "Lucky Number 13," to be auctioned off for Free Arts NYC. (Swarovski is the lead sponsor of the CFDA Awards.) Since the auction officially kicked off on May 13, the designers were there to show off their objets and celebrate the upcoming awards ceremony.

Menswear designer Todd Snyder chose a Brooklyn Nets jersey as a nod to his childhood basketball days, while Creatures of the Wind sparkled up a Pixies album with matching record player. And jeweler Irene Neuwirth spent north of 60 hours hand-crystalizing a skateboard. (Neuwirth and Snyder both customized items last year; in fact, Snyder says he's still trying to figure out how to produce those New Balances.)

With the 2014 nominations, all three brands are now members of the three-time nominee club. Still, having the experience under one's belt does seem to alleviate some of the tension. "Each year it gets easier and easier, because the first time I was so nervous and had no idea what to expect," Snyder says of the Awards ceremony. "But each year it happens, I get to enjoy the moment, I feel like I'm more prepared and able to process it easier."

The key, it would seem, is bringing the right date. Ostensibly, that person is there to show off your designs, but they'll also be right alongside you -- hopefully, for the win. Snyder is bringing his wife; Neuwirth is bringing her closest girlfriend.

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"It's good to bring a friend," she says. "It's such a nerve-wracking experience to go down the red carpet -- all of it! -- so it's fun to have someone you feel comfortable with."

It's good advice for designer Wes Gordon, who has his first nomination this year. Gordon doesn't have a date settled just yet, saying it's a "work in progress."

"It's really tricky!" he says. "So many schedules and logistics."

Regardless of who comes on his arm, Gordon is just pleased to be attending. "It's so incredible, it's really surreal," he says of his nomination.

Bidding is open through Gavel & Grand until June 2; check out each designer's entry here: