“Ah. Good evening,” sighed Diane von Furstenberg at the podium at the start of the Council of Fashion Designers of America award ceremony last night at Lincoln Center. She was dressed in a fluttery blue dress with colorful stripes. “Everyone is in such a good mood.”
The awards at Alice Tully Hall were scheduled to begin at 7:30 but didn’t start until about a quarter after 8 p.m. After a few thank-yous to the sponsors and benefactors of the CFDA, Ms. von Furstenberg appealed to the designers: “The CFDA promotes diversity and health,” she said. “I beg you to remember that when you’re planning your next show.”
Brooke Shields presented the Eugenia Sheppard award to Kim Hastreiter. “Just because you’re cute, connected, rich and famous doesn’t necessarily mean you design great stuff,” Ms. Hastreiter told the audience of designers, celebrities, editors and bloggers.
After the winners for the Swarovski awards were announced (Jason Wu for womenswear, Alexander Wang for accessories, Richard Chai for menswear), the petite Dakota Fanning, wearing a white minidress, approached the microphone. “Hello, I’m Dakota Fanning,” she said and was startled by the unwarranted applause that followed. Ms. Fanning announced Alexis Bittar as the winner of the Accessory Designer of the Year award.
Caroline Kennedy arrived to give the Eleanor Lambert award to Vogue‘s fashion director Tonne Goodman. “I’m here because I’ve idolized Tonne Goodman since I was 12 years old,” said Ms. Kennedy, who attended school in New York with the editor when they were children. “You might wonder why her style has not rubbed off on me in all that time.” Ms. Kennedy informed the audience that Ms. Goodman was the only person in their high-school yearbook to choose brown as her favorite color.
There was a grand tribute to Alexander McQueen, presented with a somber monologue from actress Sarah Jessica Parker. Models wearing Mr. McQueen’s designs solemnly walked across the stage and lined up as a video of the designer waving and walking away was shown on the screen.
CFDA executive director Steven Kolb reminded the audience that Ms. von Furstenberg will remain as the CFDA’s president. “We followed Mayor Bloomberg’s example and extended her term,” he said.
There were a few bloopers, too. Model Doutzen Kroes elicited giggles when she announced Ralph Lauren as the recipient of the Popular Vote Award for the second year in a row and, not being able to decide whether to use the word fashion or style, called him, “the embassador of American ftyle.”
Isabella Rossellini presented the Fashion Icon award to Iman. She told a story of when she first met Iman in Paris long ago and Iman was not wearing make-up. “Iman without makeup looked like a 12-year-old dough… little girl,” she said, confusing the word daughter and little girl. “Did she just call her a dog?” the woman sitting next to The Observer whispered.
Earlier, outside of the award show, pedestrian onlookers were screaming not for Iman, but her husband, David Bowie, who led Iman, wearing a binding black mermaid gown. Accepting the award, Iman said, “Now my husband is not the only icon in the family.”
Anna Wintour presented the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement award to Michael Kors and recounted some of her favorite stories told to her by Mr. Kors. One was about when a socialite once told the designer, “Michael, you are my Gap.”
Actor Anthony Mackie presented the Menswear Designer of the Year award. “This night has often been referred to as the Academy Awards of fashion, and as someone who has been to the Academy Awards, I can tell you it is exactly the same,” he said. A video featuring the nominees superimposed over Oscar films like Avatar, Up in the Air and The Blind Side played onstage, and in the end, David Neville and Marcus Wainwright of Rag & Bone were the winners. Marc Jacobs, meanwhile, took the award for Womenswear Designer presented by Jessica Biel. “I don’t much believe in prizes …” began Mr. Jacobs, accepting his ninth CFDA award.