Like all good semi-secret societies, most people outside of the Fashion elite have probably never heard of the CFDA. But this invitation-only group has had a hand in making (and breaking) some of the biggest names in American Fashion since the 1960s. And Monday June 3 at the 2013 CFDA Awards they will name the latest crop of ‘it’ Fashion figures.
2013 CFDA Awards
The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) is the U.S. answer to France’s famed Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Française. Well, almost. Where the French Couture governance group dictates such details as the definition of a couture creation and who can show at Paris Fashion Week, the CFDA is more of an advocacy group for designers themselves and the industry of American Fashion itself.
Founded in 1962 by Eleanor Lambert, a Fashion publicist and Fashion-as-art-as-industry vanguard, the CFDA was born in an era when America was striving to assert its global leadership on any and every front. From the Civil Rights movement to the space race to the birth of the computing age, those times were marked by extreme challenges, but also by incredible firsts as the United States worked to solidify it’s place in history.
A largely unknown figure herself, Lambert was at the head of many American Fashion firsts. In addition to the CFDA, she also created the Costume Institute with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, launched the famous Met Gala, founded the International Best Dressed List, originated the modern Fashion show for charity concept, and created the press calendar for domestic and international fashion presentations, now the universal Fashion calendar.
Lambert’s CFDA is today the preeminent American Fashion interest group, comprised of over 400 designer and industry members, including current President Diane von Furstenburg. Each year, this Fashion who’s who collectively certifies the best in domestic and international Fashion with a prestigious awards ceremony. Past winners include Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Kate Spade, Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein and in 2012 the Olsen twins for their luxe line The Row. Even celebs like Johnny Depp and Lady Gaga have been honored as Fashion icons.
The 2013 CFDA awards front-runners are once again the gifted duo of Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler. Jennifer Meyer, also wife of actor Tobey Maguire, is nominated for accessories. Costume Designer Colleen Atwood and Vera Wang will receive achievement awards and Ricardo Tisci of Givenchy will be honored as the International Design awardee.
Although Eleanor Lambert passed away in 2003 at the age of 100, her visionary presence lives on in the Founder’s Award in her name, this year bestowed on design legend Oscar de la Renta. The 2013 CFDA Awards are certainly an opportunity to relish in all that is modern American Fashion, but it’s also a chance to celebrate Lambert’s achievement as a female Fashion pioneer, whose mark on the world of Fashion goes far beyond these fifty states.