NEW YORK — Carolina Herrera won the women’s wear designer of the year award at the Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Awards on Monday night and Sean “P. Diddy’’ Combs for Sean John captured the prize for men’s wear. Reed Krakoff, president and executive creative director of Coach, won for accessories designer of the year.

In the two Swarovski’s Perry Ellis Award categories, Zac Posen won for new ready-to-wear talent and Eugenia Kim for accessories. Those two prizes come with a $10,000 cash prize, plus credit with Swarovski, the Austrian crystal manufacturer that is the main underwriter of the fashion awards.

This story first appeared in the June 8, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Special awards were presented during ceremonies at the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue to Sarah Jessica Parker, Irving Penn, Teri Agins, Donna Karan, Tom Ford and Miuccia Prada.

Herrera bested Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors and Ralph Rucci for his Chado collection. In addition to Combs, the nominees for men’s wear were Kors and Ralph Lauren. Edmundo Castillo and Jacobs also had been nominated for accessories.

Derek Lam and Perry Ellis designer Patrick Robinson were nominated for the Swarovski’s Perry Ellis Award for rtw, while the nominees in accessories were Anthony Camargo and David Nakard Armstrong for Anthony Nak.

The awards were also a coming-out party for Fantasia Barrino, the 19-year-old “American Idol’’ winner, who was dressed in a body-skimming bronze Michael Kors halter gown, Manolo Blahnik heels, Dean Harris chandelier earrings and a Swarovski clutch.

“I’m looking forward to meeting everybody,” she said.

Barrino said she really didn’t have one favorite designer, and buys her clothes in small boutiques in her home state, North Carolina. “But I’m going to get into it,” she promised. Eventually, Barrino said she’d like to design her own fashion line that would include dressy clothes and sportswear. But personally, she favors casual clothes. When asked what her favorite jeans were, she replied, “tight ones.”

She noted one advantage of winning the contest: “Now I get to wear Manolos.”

Barrino said her first CD will be released June 22 and consists of “I Believe,” “Summertime” and “Chain of Fools.” As the “American Idol” winner, she has signed a record deal with J Records, and plans to go on tour with 11 “American Idol” finalists next month. While on tour, she’ll record her first complete album.

Barrino, who hadn’t been to New York City since she was a child, said she couldn’t get over how busy the streets were. “Everybody’s walking,” she said. In fact, as a tribute to Manhattan, Barrino planned to sing Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” at the event. “It’s cool,” she said.

With all these musical projects on deck, Barrino also said she would like to try acting some day. “I want to do it all,” she said.

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