The Stars Aligned at the 2023 CFDA Fashion Awards
The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) held its annual CFDA Fashion Awards last night, November 6, 2023 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Hosted by Anne Hathaway, who took over for Sarah Jessica Parker who dropped out suddenly last week, the who’s who of the fashion industry gathered to honor the top talents pushing American fashion forward. There were many memorable moments and important wins that are worth recapping for those interested in the latest fashion news.
One of the most anticipated categories of the night was Womenswear Designer of the Year. The nominees included heavy hitters like Altuzarra’s Joseph Altuzarra, Christopher John Rogers, Tory Burch, and Luar’s Raul Lopez. Ultimately, the award went to Catherine Holstein of Khaite for the second year in a row. Holstein has quickly risen through the ranks to become one of New York’s most beloved designers, known for her expert tailoring and luxurious knits. She gave a brief but heartfelt speech thanking the CFDA for the honor.
In the Menswear Designer of the Year category, Willy Chavarria took home the prize. He was up against Mike Amiri of Amiri, Colm Dillane of KidSuper, Teddy Vonranson and perennial nominee Thom Browne. This was Chavarria’s first CFDA award win. His streetwear-inspired suiting and focus on diverse casting has made him a standout voice in menswear. He gave a powerful speech about coming from humble immigrant roots to finding success doing what he loves.
When it came to Accessory Designer of the Year, iconic brand The Row (designed by sisters Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen) took the award. The minimalist luxury label beat out fellow nominees Ana Khouri, Brandon Blackwood, Coach’s Stuart Vevers, and Luar’s Raul Lopez. This was The Row’s first CFDA win. Unfortunately the famously private Olsen twins were not in attendance to accept the honor.
Emerging Designer of the Year is always an exciting category to watch. This year, the award went to Diotima’s Rachel Scott. Scott designs delicate heirloom-quality garments focused on expert draping. She gave an emotional acceptance speech that touched on her Jamaican heritage and thanked New York for enabling her dream. Other emerging talent nominated included Bach Mai, Connor McKnight, Tanner Fletcher and Fletcher Kasell of Tanner Richie and Puppets and Puppets and Carly Mark of Puppets and Puppets.
Beyond the major categories, the CFDA gave out several special awards. Fashion icon Vera Wang received the Board of Directors Tribute for her legendary work in bridalwear. Salvatore Ferragamo’s Domenico De Sole was honored with the Founder’s Award in honor of Eleanor Lambert. Maria Cornejo earned the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award after serving on the CFDA board since 2019.
Other special award winners included Alina Cho for Fashion Media Award in Honor of Eugenia Sheppard, Mara Hoffman for the Environmental Sustainability Award, and Serena Williams for the Fashion Icon Award. JW Anderson and Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson collected the International Designer of the Year Award. Gwyneth Paltrow accepted the Innovation Award for her lifestyle brand Goop.
After years of featuring celebrity presenters, this year many of the awards were presented by famed designers. Notables like Prabal Gurung, Narciso Rodriguez and Zac Posen took the stage alongside CFDA Chairman Thom Browne to hand out the trophies. Browne caused a stir by wearing a skirt rather than his signature tailored shorts, apparently as a nod to honoree Vera Wang.
The 2023 CFDA Fashion Awards highlighted the eclectic mix of emerging voices and industry veterans that make American fashion so dynamic. After two years of virtual and pared down shows, this year marked a return to an in-person celebration befitting the biggest night in American fashion. With stars like Catherine Holstein and Willy Chavarria taking top prizes, the future of fashion looks bright. I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring.
2023 CFDA Fashion Award Winners & Honorees
American Menswear Designer of the Year: Willy Chavarria
American Accessory Designer of the Year: Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen for The Row
American Emerging Designer of the Year: Rachel Scott for Diotima
American Womenswear Designer of the Year: Catherine Holstein for Khaite
Fashion Icon: Serena Williams
Innovation Award presented by Amazon Fashion: Goop
Board of Director’s Tribute: Vera Wang
Founder’s Award: Domenico De Sole, in honor of Eleanor Lambert
Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award: Maria Cornejo
Media Award: Alina Cho, in honor of Eugenia Sheppard
Environmental Sustainability Award: Mara Hoffman
International Designer of the Year: Jonathan Anderson for J.W. Anderson and Loewe
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