No one was expecting a tie in the top category at the CFDA awards last night. Oscar de la Renta was on his way to accept his Womenswear Designer of the Year award when emcee Ellen Barkin realized he wasn’t the sole winner. “Oh, wait,” she said. “There’s more writing here. It says Proenza Schouler. It’s a tie! We have a tie.” De la Renta couldn’t disguise a little disappointment, but he gracefully kissed the young upstarts and gave his speech. “I have never had so much fun working so hard in all these years,” he said. The Proenza boys, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, stood behind him looking stunned. As they started to speak, Hernandez’s pocket began to ring. “Oh, my God, that’s my mom,” he said, laughing. He checked his phone. “It fully is.”
There was a truly painful Ellen DeGeneres impersonation by some girl from MADtv who presented the accessories-design award, and great, arresting videos by Ryan McGinley and others displayed the nominated designers’ clothes. There was also a video tribute to photographer Patrick Demarchelier in which Uma Thurman described her lifelong friend. “I met him when I was 15 years old,” she said. “I was told that he was a very odd Frenchman and that I probably wouldn’t understand a word he said.” The video then cut to Demarchellier, saying something no one could understand.
Iman may have been the best-dressed, wearing a red Donna Karan dress with a gold necklace from Lifetime Achievement Award winner Robert Lee Morris; Claire Danes was in Peter Som instead of her usual Narciso Rodriguez. (Scandal!) There were big triumphs: Oprah presented the first-ever American Fashion Legend Award to Ralph Lauren, who also took home Menswear Designer of the Year. And there were small moments: A very pregnant Jessie Randall of Loeffler Randall wept onstage as she accepted the Swarovski Award for Accessory Design. “I think I’m just really hormonal,” she said between tears.
But it all came back to the surprising end of the program. “I’m baffled. I’ve been going to this for years, and I’ve never seen a tie,” Fern Mallis said after the ceremony. “But I’m more baffled why no one translated Pierre Cardin’s speech. How do you let a man like that get up there for that long and not translate him?” Diane von Furstenberg, the CFDA president, explained why. “I wanted to translate,” she said. “He was going on and on, and nobody could understand what he said. But by [the time I got to the stage], he had already said so much and it was at the end. It’s too bad.” What about the tie, Diane? “I loved the tie,” she said. “Young and old!” But Sam Shipley, formerly of Trovata, might have explained it best: “They can’t just give it to Marc Jacobs every year.” —Jada Yuan
Find out what Oprah Winfrey, Zac Posen, Diddy, Doo.Ri, Heidi Klum, Ralph Lauren, Alicia Keys, Michael Kors, and many more had to say on the red carpet with our Interactive Party Lines.