July 11, 2014 by Gabriella Tam
The Council of Fashion Designers of America hosted its 13th annual Fashion Awards ceremony at the Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts June 2. The winners this year included Joseph Altuzarra for his brand Altuzarra, Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow for Public School, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen for The Row.
The council was established in 1962 by one of New York’s most celebrated fashion publicists, Eleanor Lambert. Today, the council is lead by iconic fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. According to the council’s website, the CFDA is “a not-for-profit trade association whose membership consists of more than 400 of America’s foremost womenswear, menswear, jewelry and accessory designers.”
Every year, the council holds an event that celebrates notable individuals who have shaped the history of American fashion, whether they are from a fashion, art or design background. These awards include design excellence in womenswear, menswear, journalism and a lifetime achievement award.
This year’s womenswear designer of the year award went to Joseph Altuzarra for Altuzarra. Altuzarra had previously worked for Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler and Givenchy. In 2008, Altuzarra started his line and focuses on designing for the modern woman.
According to the council, “The Altuzarra brand exudes fierce femininity with a masculine edge, is subversive in nature and strongly infused with French influences, the result of which is collections catering to the modern woman who is both strong and fearless.”
Altuzarra is also a designer with a multicultural background. He was raised by a Chinese-American mother and a French father in Paris, and then he moved to New York City to work.
This year’s menswear designer of the year award went to Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow for Public School. Based in New York, Public School was founded in 2008 and represents “the convergence and restless energy of the city in which [Osborne and Chow] live and work,” and the brand “blends high and low references from fashion, music and art to create a point of view that is both unique and precisely detailed,” according to the council website.
Although Public School is primarily known as a menswear line, the brand produced its first womenswear collection during New York Fashion Week’s fall 2014 season.
One of America’s most well-known set of twins, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen took home the accessories designer of the year award for their line, The Row. Established in 2006, The Row “combines a timeless perspective with subtle attitudes, forming an irreverent classic signature,” the council wrote. In the past, the twins have also been recognized by the council in two significant ways:in 2009, the designer duo was invited to join the council’s membership roster, and in 2012, the CFDA awarded the two designers with the womenswear designer of the year award.
Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, presented the fashion icon award to Rihanna. The Barbadian artist was awarded for her numerous outfits that were both courageous and bold.
Other winners this year included Tom Ford, who received the Geoffrey Been Lifetime Achievement Award; Bethann Hardison, who received the founder’s award for her continuous attempt to encourage racial diversity in the fashion industry; and Raf Simons, who received the international award for his efforts as the creative director for Christian Dior.