The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) returned to an in-person intimate gathering Nov. 10 to announce the winners and honourees of the 2021 CFDA Fashion Awards.
Held at the Pool + the Grill in New York City, the event was presided over by Tom Ford, the Chairman of the CFDA. It brought together a mix of American designers, brands and organizations from across the American and international fashion landscape.
CFDA: Welcome to the fashion industry’s “Oscars”
Undoubtably one of the most notable events in the industry, the night saw top insiders come together to honour outstanding contributions to American fashion in every sector. Featured were the best design talent of the season and the celebrities who help contribute to the cultural style dialogue.
Christopher John Rodgers
Tom Ford: “A celebration of American fashion”
“The American fashion industry has been called many things. But one thing we can agree on is that optimism and determination drive our industry,” said Ford. “Tonight was a celebration of American fashion and how the industry came together to navigate the pandemic in so many ways. With COVID came incredible creativity. And it forced us to think in a different way more than ever before – about our brands and what we stand for, about our customers, our employees and everyone who is a part of keeping our businesses moving forward.
“The fashion industry is a $3-trillion industry. It employs millions of people: designers, seamstresses, pattern makers, models, editors, hair and makeup artists, photographers, sales associates. The list goes on. There are so many reasons to feel proud. And it’s an honor to celebrate the people who make American Fashion what it is tonight.”
Click on mage to enlarge and view gallery
Top award winners
Actor Emily Blunt served as the host for the evening and presented the top two awards. Christopher John Rogers received the American Womenswear Designer of the Year award. And Emily Bode Aujla of Bode took the award for American Menswear Designer of the Year.
At a particularly poignant point in the evening before Model Alliance founder Sara Ziff was presented with the Positive Social Influence Award, models Beverly Johnson and Carré Otis took to the mic. They recounted their personal experience with assault and abuse throughout their careers. And they spoke about the vital role they said the Model Alliance played in advocating for the rights and wellbeing of models.
Celebrating a $3 trillion industry
HoYeon Jung of Netflix’s SquidGame and a fashion star in her own right, presented the American Emerging Designer of the Year award to Edvin Thompson of Theophilio. Plus-size model and inclusivity advocate, Paloma Elsesser, presented Demna of Balenciaga with the International Women’s Designer of the Year award and announced that Grace Wales Bonner of Wales Bonner was this year’s International Men’s Designer of the Year.
Other awards and honours
American actor and singer Zendaya was named Fashion Icon, presented by Iman. Actor and model Anya Taylor-Joy received the CFDA’s first Face of the Year award. Patagonia received the Environmental Sustainability Award. And Elle magazine’s editor-in-chief, Nina Garcia, was presented with the Media Award in honour of Eugenia Sheppard. She’s an American fashion writer and newspaper columnist who made her name during the early 20th century.
And finally, American fashion designer Yeohlee Teng received the Board of Directors’ Tribute. That was presented by Michael Kors. The Founder’s Award in honour of Eleanor Lambert was presented to Canadian activist and fashion designer Aurora James for the 15 Percent Pledge by Anna Wintour. And the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Dapper Dan by fashion historian and director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Valerie Steele.
TOP IMAGE: Anya Taylor-Joy