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De la Renta,
Proenza Schouler share CFDA award

De la Renta,
Proenza Schouler share CFDA award

The fashion world showed it's big enough for its elder statesmen and its rising stars Monday night as Oscar de la Renta shared the coveted womenswear award with Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez at the annual awards for the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

The tie was a surprise, especially to ceremony host Ellen Barkin, who first read only De la Renta's name and then realized there were more designers on the card. She made light of the error, continuing her running joke of the evening that at 53 she was one of the few people in the room old enough to appreciate fashion when the CFDA began handing out awards 25 years ago.

De la Renta said the winners shared the award with fellow nominee Marc Jacobs.

''There are no losers, there are only winners,'' he said.

As McCollough and Hernandez took their turn at the podium, one of their cell phones rang. Hernandez correctly predicted it was his mother but didn't take the call. He credited the support of the duo's peers with helping them rise so high just five years after they graduated from Parsons School of Design.

Other big winners were Ralph Lauren for menswear and Derek Lam for accessory design, and up-and-comers Phillip Lim, David Neville, and Marcus Wainwright for Rag & Bone, and Jessie Randall for Loeffler Randall. The competitive awards were chosen by CFDA members, editors, stylists, and retailers.

Lauren received the first-ever American Fashion Legend Award. A montage of his 40-year career was introduced by Oprah Winfrey, who gushed about the wrap-style gown Lauren made for her.

Winfrey said Lauren's place in fashion was undeniable.

''When you hear 'It's so Ralph Lauren,' it's very understood. The name evokes an image...a lifestyle we all wish we could live.''

She added: ''He's admired, imitated, but never equaled.''

Lauren, who received a lifetime achievement award in 1991, advised emerging designers: ''Stick to your guns and enjoy what you're doing.... American fashion is just starting.''

Other recipients of honorary awards chosen by the CFDA board of directors included jewelry designer Robert Lee Morris for lifetime achievement, Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan, French designer Pierre Cardin, and Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson, as a special tribute to their humanitarian work.

''These are two people that remind us that 'conscious' is always in fashion,'' said actor Djimon Hounsou.

Bono and Hewson didn't attend the ceremony but relayed via video their thanks to the industry for championing their mission to create a company as a conduit from the fashion world to the Third World. The couple, along with designer Rogan Gregory, started the collection Edun two years ago.

Even without the U2 front man, there were plenty of celebrity guests at the dinner, held at the New York Public Library.

Michael Kors brought three dates: Debra Messing, in a purple jersey halter gown with a plunging V neck; Heidi Klum, in a brown gathered gown covered in Swarovski crystals; and model Liya Kebede, in a cheetah-pattern beaded minidress.

Kors's staff had selected a few options for Messing to wear, she said, but she knew the purple one was right as soon as she saw it. ''I made a beeline for that one.''

''She didn't know it was the one I wanted,'' Kors added. ''It was a telepathic moment.''

Iman, accompanied by her husband, David Bowie, and wearing a slinky red Donna Karan gown and an oversized necklace by Morris, said she's still a fan of fashion more than three decades into her modeling career.

''What's there not to love? You're always playing dress-up.'' she said.

Actress Eva Mendes wore a hot-pink gown as she walked the red carpet with Calvin Klein designer Francisco Costa. Uma Thurman, who presented an award to photographer Patrick Demarchelier, wore a slate-blue halter gown with a tight ruched bodice and flowing skirt. Barkin wore a sparkly silver scoop-neck cocktail dress by L'Wren Scott.

Diane von Furstenberg, marking her first CFDA awards as the group's president, said the celebration of fashion sends the message that designers help each other.

''United we're stronger than we are individually,'' she said. ''It's about the big one giving to the small one, and Ralph is the emperor.'' (AP)

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