All right! The CFDA, Council of Fashion Designers of America honored their own last night. I can't say I agree with every choice, but I will say I have never met anyone who didn't work their butt off to be here.
Rihanna was honored with being the Style icon of the year. While her stylist-assisted looks have been interesting at times, my personal belief is an "icon" should be someone who has crafted their own individual style. A look that goes against popular trends, is so distinct that just their signature accouterments would be recognizable (think Anna Wintour's glasses and hair bob, Audrey Hepburn's pearls and cigarette holder...). A flashy, carefully composed concert and red carpet agenda does not individual style make. To me, a style icon should look striking on the way to the coffee shop when no one is looking. More ironic, Rihanna showed up at the fashion awards by not wearing any (well, except for a fur muff to hide her muff). That's like a top chef winning the James Beard Award and going on a hunger strike n'est-ce pas?
New Yorkers through and through, the dapper casual boys of Public School NYC Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow won Menswear Designers of the year. They won last year's Swarovski Award for Menswear for new talent and were also the Vogue Fashion Fund's darlings before that. Their collection is a great mix of casual looks executed in high end luxury fabrics.
For those of us in a certain generation, they will always be the Olsen Twins of childhood TV. Accessory Designers of the Year Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen have since created a lifestyle empire with their luxury label The Row as their signature. They work intensely on each collection themselves and vendors love them for their dedication to using the best quality materials, whatever the cost.
A new award this year went to Patrick Janelle for Instagrammer of the Year, showing the CFDA Awards are a little more progressive, if not a few years behind the times. They only started inviting or recognizing bloggers a couple of years ago. Tom Ford was recognized for Lifetime Achievement, which seems premature, considering he is in the prime of his career. I think they just wanted to guarantee his handsome presence on the red carpet.
All of the winners last night are extremely talented and worked hard to be where they are. Every professional that survives year after year does. However, when it comes to these and other high profile awards, I see the same handful of names pop up every time. What does it take to cast a wider net and view a true range of designers in the industry? Can the public see a label that Anna Wintour didn't handpick and direct the rest of the world to celebrate?
What unrecognized designer would you nominate?
Photos from the CFDA and Getty