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The Oscars of Fashion

jessica chastain, riccardo tisci, and more stars at the 2013 cfda fashion awards

“OMFG, CFDA! Secretary Clinton is in the house!”

Host Andy Cohen, alluding to Hillary Clinton, who would present Oscar de la Renta with his Founder’s Award, had the best line of the night at this year’s CFDA Fashion Awards. But there was no shortage of memorable moments—starting with the massive but blessedly brief thunderstorm that swept across Manhattan minutes before cocktail hour. Diane von Furstenberg and Steven Kolb must’ve made a pact with the weather gods to escape that disaster.

Secretary of State Clinton received the night’s first standing ovation. While thanking her for her speech, de la Renta almost got another one when he said, “I hope she’s going to be our next President.” Gracious to the end, the designer commended each and every one of the nominees, saying, “You’re all winners, because your work is extraordinary.”

You won’t find any arguments here that the evening’s Media Award honoree, Style.com’s own Tim Blanks, is exceptional. In the video that preceded his award, our editor at large proved himself an adept actor. If the criticism thing doesn’t work out, George Clooney should watch his back.

The Swarovski prizes for Menswear, Accessories, and Womenswear went to Public School, Pamela Love, and Suno. Walking up the staircase to accept their statuette for Suno, Erin Beatty looked back at the audience agog. Sweet, but not half as charming as the moment when she finished her thank-you’s, then turned to her business partner Max Osterweis, gave him a kiss, and said, “And thank you.” Then there was Lazaro Hernandez, back on stage again to pick up the Designer of the Year prize after Proenza Schouler’s 2011 win, calling his partner Jack McCollough the love of his life. “We’re living a dream,” he added. Thom Browne and Phillip Lim won the Menswear and Accessories Designer of the Year Awards, respectively.

The gorgeous Jessica Chastain was International Award honoree Riccardo Tisci’s celebrity presenter. Equally impressive was his video, which featured Kanye West, Liv Tyler, a teary-eyed Joan Smalls, and Tisci himself, each sitting in a wooden straight-back chair in the middle of a room. Only at the end of the clip did the camera turn to reveal that Tisci’s pal Marina Abramovic was sitting across from them. She had re-created her performance piece The Artist Is Present for the occasion. Now that’s a good friend.

When it was her turn to take the stage, Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Vera Wang got a standing ovation of her own. “How do you define a lifetime?” she began. “Looking back can be both difficult and diminishing. But what I can do is acknowledge the courage, passion, and efforts that define every designer in this room. I am blessed to be among you.”

Click to see a list of all the CFDA winners ›

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