BEHIND THE CFDA SCENES: Guests heading to this year’s CFDA Awards won’t have to wait until they find their seats in Alice Tully Hall to check out this year’s CFDA Journal. Through a new alliance with the CFDA, Lexus will deliver the hardcover editions (another first) to attendees a few days before the event. They will also receive a Swarovski crystal polygon paperweight to mark that company’s 14th year of partnership with the CFDA.

Once again Laird + Partners’ Trey Laird has spearheaded the journal’s creative, lining up director and photographer Barnaby Roper to shoot portraits and short films for each of the nominees and honorees. The photos were styled by Brian Molloy at the weeklong Drive-In Studios shoot. The shoot was scheduled to coincide with The Met Ball to accommodate overseas designers like Menswear Designer of the Year nominee Tom Ford and International Award winners Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino.

The Italian duo were only one of several fashion pairs that were called on location along with Public School’s Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, The Row’s Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez and Rag & Bone’s Marcus Wainwright and David Neville.

The only non-New Yorker whose travel plans kept him away during the designated time frame was this year’s Fashion Icon winner Pharrell Williams. Unenthused about pulling a stock image of the Grammy Award-winning musician and entrepreneur, Laird dreamed up a female understudy, recruiting Joan Smalls to channel Williams. Roper shot a series of photos of Smalls doing her best take on Pharrell’s style. Aside from his embellished Adidas Stan Smiths, which were flown in by his team without his knowledge for Smalls to wear in a frame or two, none of the other items she wore were his. “Joan really became Pharrell. It was amazing. I loved the idea of bringing in someone like Joan, who is at the height of fashion and who has such sophistication,” Laird said. “He hasn’t seen it yet. I don’t even know that he knows about it.”

Readers might also need to do a double take with the Olsens, who were photographed with their backs to the camera. But that won’t be the only backstory. “In the past, we have always had recognized photographers shooting the images,” said Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CFDA. “This year, we expanded on that and wanted to break with tradition a little by asking notables to share their thoughts on our honorees. Karl Lagerfeld penned a piece on Pharrell Williams, and Franca Sozzani wrote about Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli. Leandra Medine provided her take on Instagram, while Jenna Lyons gave us an insider’s perspective on Mickey Drexler.”

Adding yet another dimension to the project was the fact that Laird was happy to help pay tribute to his friend and former boss Drexler, the 2015 Founder’s Award winner. Another personal favorite was Betsey Johnson, whom Laird had not met before. Molloy fished through Johnson’s archives to find one of her vintage tutus for Sasha Pivovarova to model. But the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award winner also proved to be tireless — “She’s like a shot of espresso. You just wind her up and go. We could have shot her all day,” Laird said.


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