NEW YORK — The celebrity quotient went into overdrive at the 2022 CFDA Fashion Awards on Monday night, where Cher, Kim Kardashian, Lenny Kravitz, Bradley Cooper, Kerry Washington, Natasha Lyonne, Martha Stewart and Trevor Noah all took to the stage.
Then there were the guests, who were dressed to the nines in the invitation-specified “Archival American” and who included Amanda Seyfried, Katie Holmes, Ashley Graham, Bernadette Peters, Carolyn Murphy, Christine Quinn, Gigi Hadid, Mariska Hargitay, and Rachel Brosnahan.
And let’s not forget the designers, whose night it was meant to be.
Highlights of the CFDA Awards, held at Cipriani South Street at Casa Cipriani and presented in partnership with Amazon Fashion, were the naming of Catherine Holstein, creative director of Khaite as Womenswear Designer of the Year, and Emily Adams Bode Aujla of Bode the Menswear Designer of the Year for the second year in a row. Raul Lopez of Luar was awarded the American Accessory Designer of the Year, and Elena Velez won the American Emerging Designer of the Year.
The night — which is always too long — was a mixture of established designers and newcomers mixing and mingling during cocktails and before the awards presentation, while the Kardashian clan — Kim Kardashian, Khloé Kardashian, Kris Jenner, Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner — held court at their center-placed table as if the evening were only about them, posing for photos and jumping in and out of their seats during the dinner to greet guests and take photos. Kim Kardashian’s Skims brand received one of the night’s honorary awards, which she accepted along with partners Emma and Jens Grede.
Lyonne served as the evening’s host, and throughout the event, the awards’ co-hosts Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler, Joseph Altuzarra, Gabriela Hearst and Aurora James gave touching remarks about what the CFDA has meant to them. But while the room was packed with tables, the production lagged, with presenters having to weave their way through the squeezed-in crowd to get to the stage rather than waiting in the wings — only extending each award.
The CFDA is marking its 60th anniversary this year and Steven Kolb, its chief executive officer, pointed to all the former leaders of the organization in the room, including Mary McFadden, Stan Herman, Diane von Furstenberg and the incoming chairman, Thom Browne, who starts Jan. 1. A film — which few in the room actually watched — recapped the organization’s six decades.
Following a speedy dinner of salad and Chilean sea bass, Lyonne took to the podium and thanked her friends McCollough and Hernandez for turning me into the “chicest uptown sexy salsa clown here tonight.”
“A lot of you may know, I am the immortal, time-traveling creator and star of ‘Russian Doll,’ but I’m also a seasoned true blue, born and raised New Yorker. I love fashion. I love any industry that combines utter eccentricity with short tempers, chain-smoking indoors, vague exclusivity, impeccable aesthetics, fleeting tastes, and a weight-loss program sponsored by The Sackler family.”
She then turned to the surprise guest and first presenter, Cher, who was nowhere to be found. During an awkward pause that lasted minutes, Lyonne ad-libbed about getting out and voting. She then reintroduced the legendary star.
“Am I supposed to say I’m a showstopper?” quipped Cher, who said she was happy to be there to present two awards. “My dear friend Bob Mackie once told me that if you’re wearing something you’re not comfortable in, you’re not going to pull it off, and you’ll be afraid. He said ‘fashion is supposed to be fun, not feared,'” said Cher. “And Patti Wilson is fearless.”
Cher awarded Wilson the Media Award in honor of Eugenia Sheppard.
Wilson said she grew up going to Catholic school where she developed a sense of fashion. “There was something dramatic about the nuns,” she said, loving all the black-and-white and the religious crosses. When she was coming up in fashion, she was one of the few, if not the only, Black person in the room. “I considered walking away from the industry. It was at that point, in the ’90s that my dear friend and trailblazer, Edward Enninful, helped me fall back in love with styling, when he brought me into i-D magazine,” said Wilson.
In accepting his award for Accessory Designer of the Year, Lopez of Luar said, “I’m not very good with good attention, I really like bad attention.” He said he wanted to thank God, the CFDA and especially his family, two immigrants from the Dominican Republic, who worked in the garment industry to give him a great future.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t attend fashion school because it was deemed gay. But that did not stop me, I wanted more, and you want to tell your child self, know that if you yearn for it, you go for it.” He would take the train from Brooklyn into Manhattan and sneak into the libraries of the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons, and he would say he lost his pass and wanted to use their resources. He spoke about his successful “Ana” bag, inspired by his grandmother, mother and many other relatives named Ana.
Eva Chen, director of fashion partnerships at Instagram, presented the Positive Social Influence Award to Slaysians from The House of Slay featuring Prabal Gurung, Laura Kim, Phillip Lim, Tina Leung and Ezra William.
Leung said the founders started House of Slay during the height of the pandemic when anti-Asian violence began to spike. According to Lim, “These past few years have been very dark times for the AAPI [Asian American and Pacific Islander] community, the unjust and scapegoating of an entire community for a virus that has nothing to do with race, leading to spikes in physical attacks…on our most vulnerable, to the consistent lack of proportionate representation in all the arenas of society, including fashion.” He said in the midst of all this hate, they realized they had to do something “to change the narrative and lean into their unique stories and combine influence into projects that shine positive light on beautiful cultures.”
Martha Stewart gave the inaugural Innovation Award to Skims, which Kardashian cofounded in 2019 and which now has a valuation of $3.2 billion. Kardashian was thanking the CFDA and Amazon Fashion for recognizing Skims, when a phone rang in the audience.
“Mom, turn your phone off,” Kardashian told her mother, Kris Jenner, whom she later praised as her mentor and major supporter.
Cher then returned to the stage to present her friends Laurie Lynn Stark and Richard Stark of Chrome Hearts with the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award. She was joined by their daughter (and Cher’s goddaughter), Jesse Jo Stark.
“I’ve known them for such a long time and they’re like family, and I’ve seen them make sacrifice after sacrifice,” the singer said of the Starks, praising Chrome Hearts as an American company that makes clothes in America.
Laurie Lynn Stark said their first store 27 years ago was on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The first jacket they sold paid the rent. They then built a factory in Hollywood, which embraced artists and nurtured dreams. “This night has given us the gift of reflection on a journey with dedicated artisans from around the world which we’ve had the pleasure of working with every single day,” she said. She said Virgil Abloh always encouraged her to make couture gowns, and she was wearing the first one she ever made that evening.
In accepting the Emerging Designer of the Year Award, Elena Velez said she was raised by a single mother and her brand is about recontextualizing regional craftsmanship away from the creative coasts and toward Middle America.
One of the emotional highlights of the night came when Kerry Washington presented the inaugural Stylist Award to Law Roach — warning the staffer walking toward her with the trophy to go away because she had a lot to say. Roach, Washington told the audience, was born in humble beginnings and raised in Chicago, and he’d go with his grandmother to thrift stores and shop. He got a degree from Chicago State University in psychology, “in case you’re wondering where he got this talent for controlling our minds.” He then opened a used clothing store in his hometown called Deliciously Vintage. A friend asked Roach if he could help a young teenage Disney star named Zendaya find an outfit for a Justin Bieber premiere.
“In the old days, it was a struggle to find designers to dressing kids for the Disney Channel. He would deliberately pull pieces that other celebrities had already worn to ensure that she would appear in ‘Who Wore It Best’ in the tabloids, so she would prevail. At the Met Gala in 2019, Roach waved his magic wand when Zendaya wore Tommy Hilfiger’s Cinderella look on the red carpet for the night’s Camp theme,” said Washington, adding a star was then born.
In accepting his award, Roach said: “I want to thank all the women who have given me the opportunity to dress them. I wasn’t promised this life. I didn’t grow up wanting this life. I think this life chose me. I believe the universe gives you exactly what you need when you’re supposed to have it.”
He recalled in 2016 Zendaya was invited to go with Michael Kors to the Hammerstein Ballroom for the CFDA Awards. “I sat in the kitchen and I watched from the kitchen as your waiters served your food and your drinks. I just said to myself, ‘One day I’m going to be on that stage.’…Anything is possible.”
Stan Herman presented the Special Anniversary Award to Jeffrey Banks, saying that Banks’ mother is going to be 102 years old in January. “She remembers the first word he ever spoke, not mama, not dada, but Vogue.” By the time Banks was 10, he was designing clothes for the red carpet at church. By 17, he was telling customers what to wear at Britches in Washington, D.C. He was schooled at Parsons and Pratt in New York and by the time he was 20 had design jobs at Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. His first two Coty Awards were for a fur collection for Alexandre, and he took Merona Sport “to fashion’s very hot center.”
In accepting his award, Banks said being in the industry has let him know amazing people in fashion and out, and he has written several books. “It has enabled me to reach consumers through television. It has also allowed me to serve on many boards, charities and not-for-profits. After all, there is so much more in this world beyond fashion,” said Banks.
Trevor Noah presented the American Menswear Designer of the Year to Emily Adams Bode Aujla of Bode.
“As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of fashion. I’ve been known to wear clothes almost every day of my life,” said Noah.
In accepting the award, Aujla said, “This industry is funny in a way. You must be crazy passionate if you’re going to create something over and over and over again.” Fashion falls at the intersection of being so emotionally charged enough to move the needle and also to simply be worn. “I’m honored to be part of this industry and being a part of preserving American craft for generations to come,” she said.
Anna Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue, said every year they work with the Metropolitan Museum of Art to put on the Met Gala. “But as much as people look forward to the party, they look forward much more to the fashion exhibition that accompanies it,” she said. Hundreds of thousands of people walk through the exhibition halls “eager and entranced.”
“That is thanks to the brilliant and creative man we’re recognizing tonight with the Founder’s Award, my collaborator and wonderful friend, Andrew Bolton,” she said. He has been in charge of the Costume Institute since 2015.
Bolton thanked Wintour, the CFDA, his collaborators, curators and partner Thom Browne. He said Wintour overall has raised $218 million for the Costume Institute.
The United Nations received the Environmental Sustainability Award from Amber Valletta and it was accepted by Amina J. Mohammed, the U.N.’s deputy secretary-general.
Mohammed said they value the fashion industry’s collaboration to put sustainability at its core. “We are united by our love for fashion, creativity and innovation, and also solidarity for climate action,” she said. She spoke about how world leaders are meeting in Egypt for Cop27. “We need Cop27 over the next 10 days to deliver a pact that saves our planet and for that, we need you to help us,” she said.
In discussing the family aspects of the CFDA, Aurora James said that on Nov. 28, 2021, the industry “lost our captain.”
“If we are a family, Virgil Abloh was all our big brothers. He was also our north star. He challenged each and every one of us to be more, to do more, to create more and always in the service of others, beyond ourselves. He was a visionary and greatly ahead of his time,” she said, adding he inspired hope and reconfigured the imagination of countless people on who gets to be a fashion designer.
Shannon Abloh, Abloh’s widow, thanked the CFDA for honoring her late husband with the Board of Trustee’s Award. “What Virgil was able to accomplish in his short 41 years will live on to inspire all of us for decades,” she said, adding his smile, laugh and friendship “and the way he brought talent in the room together to create magic will be remembered forever.”
In presenting the Fashion Icon award to Lenny Kravitz, Bradley Cooper said, “He’s a rock star, a song writer, he can play just about any instrument, he’s effortless, cool and eclectic and has a singular voice that one recognizes after one note. He’s a father, actor and designer.
“Whatever it is, he’s got it. And when it comes to fashion, there’s no one cooler.…There’s no musician alive who wears leather and leopard like Lenny,” said Cooper.
Kravitz, who grew up in the late ’60s and ’70s, said: “Even as a child I felt the vibes.” His mother was an actress and an elegant, soulful woman, he said, and his father was a TV producer and also a sharp dresser.
“I see all these people and it sparked my imagination. When my mom went out, I would go into her closet and play. It was my personal boutique. I’d put on scarves, belts, platform boots, boas and imitate my heroes like Jackson Five, Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, David Bowie, Miles Davis…my mother allowed me to dress however I wanted. So if you look at my grade school photos, that’s exactly how I looked. I didn’t care what the other kids thought,” said Kravitz, getting huge applause.
Finally, Christina Ricci awarded the Womenswear Designer of the Year to Catherine Holstein, creative director of Khaite, to rousing applause and “Girl on Fire.”
Holstein said there were so many people in the room who she grew up admiring. “It’s totally surreal, and thank you everybody. I’m totally shocked and overwhelmed,” she said.
And with that, the crowd dashed out — only to join the sea of others waiting for their Ubers.