WWD photographer Steve Eichner sees it all and shares his unique perspective from the frontlines of the CFDA Awards, from Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center to Raf Simons’ after party to the after-after party at the Top of the Standard.
Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center: The CFDA Awards
5:28 p.m.: Barricades and fake bushes line 65th street. It’s time to join the other photographers to take our place.
5:39 p.m.: “You are being photographed,” a sign says as we enter the building. Apparently, for a production tentatively titled “DVF.” Is Diane doing a reality show? Huh.
6:17 p.m.: “It’s not such a good list,” says photographer Evan Agostini. Then he starts reading it: Lupita Nyong’o, Marion Cotillard, Blake Lively, Naomi Campbell, Rihanna. He scratches his chin, “Hmmm, I guess it is kinda good.”
6:29 p.m.: Run into Bill Cunningham: “Thanks for trying to help me with my camera on last Thursday. It was not the settings. It’s just broken. I got a new one for tonight!” Cunningham says with cheer. “Well did you test it out?” I ask. “I never test!” then he snaps away. Perfect.
6:46 p.m.: DVF standing outside puts the final touches on her outfit, her earrings. Snap, snap!
6:47 p.m.: From a pair of bright lips: “Hi Steve Eichner.” “Hi Jen Brill.”
6:59 p.m.: Elie Tahari grabs his date and waltzes for the photogs.
7:17 p.m.: I make the strategic decision to abandon the pole position at the start of the carpet and move freely in the cocktail. It’s a risk that I may miss someone but I’ll get more exciting photos from here.
7:26 p.m.: “Girls, ladies, lets get a great shot of you two looking here.” Mary-Kate and Ashley stare into my lens. Out of the corner of my eye I see Steven Kolb longing to be in the shot. I wave him over. Click!
7:29 p.m.: “Lupita, Lupita!” Electric smile. That’s real shine.
7:31 p.m.: Marching orders from the boss. “Did you get a solo shot of Meghan Collison with Creatures of the Wind?” “I’m not sure but I will.” “But don’t miss anyone!” Stress sets in. They are nowhere to be found. Review my photos and I have her alone. Phew.
7:34 p.m.: Nice finger horns, Betsey.
7:39 p.m.: Solange Knowles arrives and shortly after, so does Rachel Roy. “Hey, Rachel, I’d like to get a pic of you and Solange together.” “No!” she says. “That’s very inappropriate.” OK then. Someone tells me she was named in all the gossip that followed Solange’s fight with Jay-Z at the Standard. I start to feel terrible. Rachel is one of the nicest people in the industry. I did not mean to offend her. Guess I should read the tabloids more often. Hashtag, faux pas.
7:54 p.m.: Maxwell Osborne hugs Vera Wang. Cute.
7:57 p.m.: Aaaaand Rihanna’s here. I run outside: “Rihanna, Rihanna, eyes here! Eyes here.” She sparkles in my direction. I see London, I see France.…I run back inside. I get down low and pow! She gives me THE picture.
8:12 p.m.: Aaaaand, it’s time to hand out some awards. Switching to long lens and monopod.
8:56 p.m.: Anna and RiRi texting video. Hilarious.
9:48 p.m.: I heart you, Bethann Hardison.
9:56 p.m.: Joseph Altuzarra wins! Took me by surprise but well deserved. The night before I asked him if he was going to the CFDA awards. LOL.
10:09 p.m.: Time for the postshow cocktails. Lisa Salzer: “This is my first one! I finally made it!” she exclaims. “Welcome to the sanctum sanctorum, dear.”
10:17 p.m.: Wes Gordon and Maxwell Osborne high five. Now it’s on to the first after party.
Ladurée Soho: Raf Simons’ after party
10:25 p.m.: Nice Roman statues. This place is macaron heaven. Too bad they are all locked up.
11:42 p.m.: Two ladies smoking e-cigs are handed two cocktails. “Would you be a doll and get us two more?” they ask. I reluctantly agree and return a split-second later with the wine. “How did you get it so fast?” “I went to the next room and a waiter appeared with a tray. Very Zen.”
11:55 p.m.: “How about over here?” Karlie Kloss suggests from behind a macaron case like a kid in a candy store. I am, too, with the supermodel posing for me. Something sweet for everyone.
11:57 p.m.: Finally a macaron! “It’s an aphrodisiac,” Nadia Swarovski says, pointing to the pink macaron, a rose one with Champagne.
12:11 a.m.: “I have a strange question,” I say to the Brant boys. “My cousin from Beverly Hills is going to be in the International Debutante ball this January at the Waldorf. She was dreaming about one of you guys escorting her…” Harry answers: “Well, Peter is a veteran at that but I’ve never done it. It sounds fun! Here’s my e-mail.”
The Top of the Standard: The unofficial CFDA after party
12:46 a.m.: Back to the scene of the crime and up the infamous elevator. Sorry, Rachel. I think. “I’m still using that photo,” says Rosie Assoulin, referring to a portrait I shot of her for WWD. Aw, shucks.
12:51 a.m.: The Standard’s Joey Jalleo gives me a big wet kiss, tries to slip me tongue. He does have soft supple lips, just sayin’.
12:55 a.m.: “Here! I bought you a glass of wine,” says a p.r. girl. She must have read my last column.
1:05 a.m.: Crown lights for the king, Joseph Altuzarra
1:07 a.m.: “Swing the dress, swing it!” I say to Joan Smalls and get exotic multiple exposures. I think the wine is kicking in.
1:12 a.m.: Drunk girl with Mickey Mouse doll and sexy outfit.
1:28 a.m.: Dance, dance, flash, flash, kiss, kiss. Thanks, Genevieve Jones!
1:40 a.m.: When you’re taking pictures of random couples wearing gold lamé and bleached blonde hair, the party’s over. For me, at least.