At the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards at Splashlight Studios on Monday, Nov. 17, election fashion was still on everyone’s mind. “She saw that dress and she liked it,” said Narciso Rodriguez, who designed Michelle Obama‘s Election Night dress. “She saw it on the runway, she chose it, I guess from the runway…” He nodded slowly and mouthed “yes” when asked if he’d known in advance that she would wear it.
The young designers of Proenza Schouler approached Mr. Rodriguez. “Did you see Michelle Obama in his dress?” cried Lazaro Hernandez. “Really major!”
“They have a fabulous new bag line,” deflected Mr. Rodriguez. Mr. Hernandez asked if Mr. Rodriguez was designing the inaugural gown. “It would be nice to think so,” he said modestly. Mr. Hernandez said it may be hard to get Ms. Obama in Proenza Schouler, because “she’s probably going to be wearing Narciso every day!”
The actress Juliette Lewis was sipping a cocktail in a silver sequined Phillip Lim jumpsuit. “Omigod cue the music, I love this song, MGMT, it’s this band… Anyway, I am finishing a record, a solo record, so it’ll just be me. Oh, you probably don’t know,” she said. “I’ve been doing music for the last five years. You have to check it out on the internet!” (Her band is called Juliette and the Licks, and its former members include Hole’s Patty Schemel and the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl).
“I’m about to start another movie that Mark Ruffalo‘s directing, he’s one of my favorite actors,” she continued. “It’s going to be yummy and independent, and James Franco is in it. I didn’t act for like three years because I was just touring the world [with the band].”
Ms. Lewis had arrived at this fashionable gathering via Mr. Lim, a new friend. “He invited me, I’m his guest, and I’m wearing his clothes. It’s a new love affair, between him and me,” she said. Mr. Lim was not up for an award, so they were supporting his friend, whose name had escaped her. She swatted at Mr. Lim, standing nearby in a suit and red boutonniere. “Who’s your friend we’re rooting for?” (Richard Chai, he said). “Richard Chai!” she said. Mr. Lim indicated they should circle the room.
Nearby, Coyote Ugly actress Piper Perabo was overheard grilling her date, designer Peter Som: “There is an important question I need to ask. Are you single?” she said.
“Yes,” said Mr. Som.
“I am too,” said Ms. Perabo, somewhat discontentedly.
Eventually the crowd moved towards dinner: Vogue editor Anna Wintour, CFDA president Diane Von Furstenberg, Harvey Weinstein and designer wife Georgina Chapman, actress Rose Byrne, tennis player Maria Sharapova, Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively and Penn Badgley, Calvin Klein designer Francisco Costa, designer couple Damon Dash and Rachel Roy (stepping out in the midst of tabloid flutter about their alleged bankruptcy) and André Leon Talley in an oversized black pea coat which said: “THE NEW AMERICAN DREAM” in gold on the back.
Charlize Theron introduced the evening’s keynote speaker, Dior designer John Galliano.
“You should get that,” she said, when someone’s cell phone rang during her speech.
She explained that Mr. Galliano was born in Gibraltar, son of a homemaker and a plumber-“not Joe the Plumber.”
Mr. Galliano himself wore a black top hat covered in daisies and a black vest over black bejeweled pants. He was shaking from nervousness as he recounted, via TelePrompter, his rise in the fashion industry. “My first collection was called ‘Afghanistan repudiates Western ideals,'” he said, to laughter. “Prophetic.”
Mr. Galliano and Ms. Theron announced the evening’s winner, 24-year-old Alexander Wang, who would take home $200,000. The ebullient, black-clad designer mounted the stage and kissed both the presenters. “I can’t believe I just kissed John Galliano!” he swooned into the microphone. Ms. Theron tapped him on the shoulder. “Oh! And Charlize Theron! To think that five years ago I was reading about this event in a magazine in my dorm room.”