Each year the Council of Fashion Designers of America gives out a few honorary awards. One of them honors a fashion editor or journalist, another honors a designer, and another honors a "fashion icon." Last year, the model Iman won the fashion icon prize, but before her, the CFDA hadn't handed one out since 2005, when Kate Moss won it. Her predecessors include Sarah Jessica Parker ('04), Nicole Kidman ('03), and C.Z. Guest ('02). Those are the only fashion icon award recipients on record on the CFDA website, which lists all CFDA Award winners since 1981. At this year's awards being handed out tonight, we get a fashion icon prize — or rather, Lady Gaga does.
Forbes.com wonders, "Does Lady Gaga Deserve The CFDA Fashion Icon Award?" It's a natural question for an artist who has only been famous for a few years, and Forbes.com offers many more questions they don't quite have the answer to:
Does Lady Gaga merit the honor of being in the company of C.Z. Guest? Does she create trends and inspire women to dress like her in the same way that they copy every one of Sarah Jessica Parker’s outfits? Does she have the power to move and sell fashion merchandise as Kate Moss?
Many would probably feel less inclined to debate the merit of Kate Moss, or even Kate Middleton or Michelle Obama, as fashion icons because they do have the effect of selling the things they wear. Moss, Obama, and Middleton start trends just by going outside with an unexpected pair of shoes or their shirt tucked in a certain way. Lady Gaga certainly doesn't start trends by going outside in ripped fishnets worn over thong panties, her feet jammed into nine-inch heel-less shoes, with a leather jacket and no bra when it's 28 degrees outside. No one wants to copy that — well, outside of Halloween or one of her concerts when the point is to get weird and slutty. But people still want to look at Gaga perhaps more than any other person on this planet because of what she wears, and that is what makes her a fashion icon, whether or not she's been doing it for as long as Moss or Sarah Jessica Parker or even Madonna. Even if you don't like her, or what she wears, or what she says, or her music, anyone inclined to care somewhat about fashion, or who looks at a computer all day, would have a hard time not looking at pictures of her.
Besides, having Lady Gaga appear at the CFDAs is a great way for the awards ceremony to get the publicity it should but usually doesn't get. The awards aren't about actresses not landing on worst-dressed lists — they're about the industry getting their favorite muses together and making them look actually fashionable to best represent its labels. We can't wait to see how Lady Gaga shows up tonight. Since it's pretty much dead season in fashion, she kind of owes us the excitement of arriving by parachute or riding a live cow, or something.
Does Lady Gaga Deserve The CFDA Fashion Icon Award? [Forbes.com]