Thursday, June 18, 2009

CFDA Awards Night...Another Year, Another Bore

Anna Sui with her Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Acheivement Award

Carine Roitfeld in her recent CNN profile might have said it best when she was talking about how over the past decade, people's interest in fashion has grown exponentially, noting that everyone wants to know everything about fashion, from why & how it was made to how it was shown and how it will impact the rest of our daily lives. And with Diane Von Furstenberg heading the Council of Fashion Designers of America, there was a lot of speculation and hope that she would turn the game into a more democratic organization, one that many of America's unrecognized talents would benefit from. And one must note, American fashion is and has always been in a constant state of flux, always being overshadowed by the relentless magic that comes out of Europe.

So they say the CFDA has been revamped, given new blood, but if you ask us, what it has become is a forum for the same eight to ten designers year after year. Yes, young talent needs that kind of spotlight, and yes, we do want to know who's out there, who's talented and under-the-radar. The thing is, those same eight to ten designers have already received enough attention over the past five years. Why can't the CFDA really put their ear's to the ground and search for new, untapped talent? Proenza Schouler are big league now, they don't need any p.r help, yet to us, the CFDA Awards seem to be one big publicity machine for several of Vogue's favorite designers. Year after year it's Vena Cava, Band of Outsiders, Rag & Bone, Proenza, Doo.Ri, Narciso Rodriguez, Erin Fetherston & Marc Jacobs. Eventually all of those mentioned will have an award, so then what?

Besides the annoyance this circle of friends made us feel the other day, we at Vnyc were quite pleased to see Anna Sui win the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award. Over the past few decades Sui has built a very strong, concise vision for her brand, and in a male dominated industry, her win comes as a nice surprise. It always seems strange that there are only two big league black designers around today, but it's the lack of women in an industry for women that is even more dumbfounding.

And with every awards gala there is the requisite red-carpet, and as if last year's CFDA Awards red-carpet wasn't disappointing enough, there was this years puzzling mix of day and night looks. Looking back, there seems to be a great divide, was it black tie? Apparently not. It was surprising to see one patron of the event wearing a head-to-toe beaded maxi while another looks like one very well dressed kindergarten teacher. In the end, if Roitfeld is right about people's insatiable need to know everything about fashion, it seems that those behind the CFDA don't really understand that they can't keep fooling people with the same awards regiment again & again.

Out of the hundreds of guests, our two favorites were:
Model Anja Rubik, in Kaufman Franco pictured above's Nicole Phelps, in Akris

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