The Council of Fashion Designers of America's annual awards bring our fave (and not so fave) U.S. starlets out to play. Last year was much more exciting for me, personally, but that's just because it was Rihanna who was receiving the Style Icon award and showed up in a homage to Josephine Baker, as shown above. This year's awards didn't have anything on that getup, but I'll delve into them anyway.
Womenswear Designer of the Year: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen for 'The Row'
These twins from our childhood keep a relatively low profile these days (as in, we're not bombarded with straight-to-DVD flicks about them on holiday) but they have proven themselves to be heavyweights in fashion, with their label starting in 2006 and going strong today, nine years later. The Row is minimal luxe – solid blocks of colour, billowing materials, capes, cropped pants, coats and cashmere knits. Perfect for anyone who wants to start an incredibly chic coven who value comfort and style almost equally. This year's awards make the third CFDA gong for the twins, and it'll be interesting to see how they progress as designers as more time passes. On a side note: seeing them together on the red carpet makes me wish that I had a twin. With their severe middle partings and outfits reflective of their brand, they stand strong together, rather than looking a little odd apart.
Menswear Designer of the Year: Tom Ford
Last year he netted the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award, but despite a lifetime of achievement, he's still going strong. When I think about Tom Ford I mainly get mental images of all the risque ad campaigns he's done over the years, but he has a massive catalogue of work behind him. Moving to Milan in 1990 to work for Gucci, to working with all creative teams at YSL, to growing Gucci sales to over $3 billion, to starting the 'Tom Ford' label in 2005. All of this success, and Jay-Z even named a song after him. Livin' the dream.
One of his less objectionable campaigns, for his eyewear collection.
Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award: Betsey Johnson
She launched the Betsey Johnson brand in 1978, and has 41 stores today. Her designs are whimsical, with a focus on feeling like a pin-up and incorporating 'vintage' elements into her garments and jewellery. Personally, the Betsey Johnson brand isn't for lil all black-wearing me, but she is more than deserving of this award as a 72-year-old breast cancer survivor who is still doing what she loves almost 40 years after starting her label.
Fun fact while you look at Betsey's style: Nicki Minaj is a huge BJ fan.
MY OBLIGATORY GRIPE
Style Icon Award: Pharrell Williams
I'm not sure how I feel about this, especially after Rihanna taking the award last year. Apparently at the award he gave a 15-minute acceptance speech that the attendees weren't huge fans of. I love Pharrell, he seems to mystically never age (seriously, that man could pass as being in his early 20's) and N*E*R*D still slaps harder than a lot of current artists on the radio. I'm not that huge a fan of his in the realm of fashion though. In my opinion, he's pretty much a walking advertisement for Adidas. And what's with the hat? I wasn't as personally offended by it as some other people seemed to be, but I still don't understand the choice. He can be pretty cute, but preppy collared shirts and bow ties paired with shorts don't exactly scream style icon. Who knows, maybe I'm just mad because I heard 'Happy' a million fucking times after its release.