Vanessa Friedman's Thoughts on the CFDA Awards

In her second week as the New York Times' fashion director and chief fashion critic, Vanessa Friedman, successor of Cathy Horyn, is not wasting any time. Friedman, who is known for her shrewd, bipartisan writing, took to the Times' On The Runway blog to share her thoughts on this evening's Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Awards, which have been criticized (at least by us) for championing the same handful of designers year after year.

It is the same names you will also see as participants in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, the CFDA Designers in Paris, the CFDA Exchange Program, etc. Here are a few excerpts from Friedman's article, entitled, CFDA Show Spotlights Familiar Faces:

Monday night is the night American fashion has long been waiting for, a.k.a. the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards show, and the industry is agog at who may win: Marc Jacobs or Alexander Wang or Joseph Altuzarra for women’s wear? The Row or Proenza Schouler or Alexander Wang (yes, again) for accessories? And so on. OOOHHH. I can’t wait!

O.K., maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration. “I am mildly curious” would be a more accurate description. After all, every one of the names nominated for one of the big three awards has won before — in Mr. Jacobs’s case, nine (count ‘em) times, including a lifetime achievement award in 2011  ... in Proenza’s case, five times; in Mr. Wang’s case, three times, though he has been nominated 11 times. Tom Ford, who is getting the lifetime achievement award this year, has also won five times.

I understand there is both a financial and marketing imperative for the awards evening, given that people buy tickets and that it goes to support the CFDA, and that it is in the interests of the nominated designers to bring a celebrity, who will then get photographed on the red carpet and hence garner them, and by association, the CFDA and American fashion, lots of associated publicity. But still.