“We’ve had a great board meeting today, a very fun one,” CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg told guests at Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center, kicking off the announcement event for the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards nominees and honorees.
Von Furstenberg proceeded to unveil the first of several honorees of the night: Betsey Johnson, who is receiving the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Award. Johnson jumped – not cartwheeled – on stage and took to the Swarovski crystal-adorned podium to give an impromptu, unplanned acceptance speech. “I am so sorry, I just want to say this is the ultimate beyond, Oh My F G moment and I didn’t think I would ever want it because I didn’t want to be 72,” Johnson, in one of her dresses from 1965, said. “I love our club, I love what you have done with it. I love the money we have raised for AIDs and Breast Cancer and beyond.”
“You deserve everything,” von Furstenberg chimed in.
Johnson was just one of many awards that received thunderous applause from the crowd, which included most honorees and nominees, as well as Vera Wang, Gilles Mendel, Italo Zucchelli, Jennifer Fisher, Simon Spurr, Lily Kwong, Ruth Finley, Kristy Caylor, Pamela Love, Mimi So, Jenna Lyons and Leandra Medine.
“It’s a really lovely award and recognition,” said J.Crew’s Millard “Mickey” Drexler, this year’s recipient of the Founders Award.
The Awards, in collaboration with Swarovski, will take place on June 1st at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.
Asked how she would top her first acceptance speech, Johnson didn’t miss a beat. “I won’t speak,” she joked. “That’s a good idea.”
The 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards nominees are…
Womenswear Designer of the Year Award
Joseph Altuzarra for Altuzarra, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough for Proenza Schouler, and Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen for The Row.
Menswear Designer of the Year Award
Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne for Public School, David Neville and Marcus Wainwright for Rag & Bone, Thom Browne, Tim Coppens, and Tom Ford.
Accessory Designer of the Year Award
Alexander Wang, Irene Neuwirth, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez for Proenza Schouler, Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen for The Row, and Tabitha Simmons.
Swarovski Award for Womenswear
Rosie Assoulin, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne for Public School, and Ryan Roche
Swarovski Award for Menswear
Shayne Oliver for Hood by Air, Alex Orley, Matthew Orley and Samantha Orley for Orley, and Ariel and Shimon Ovadia for Ovadia & Sons.
Swarosvki Award for Accessory Design
Paul Andrew, Eva Zuckerman for Eva Fehren, and Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel for Mansur Gavriel.
The Swarovski Award recipients in each category will receive generous financial support from Swarovski as well as exposure to the company’s vast and innovative Swarovski crystal resources.
The honorary awards go to a diverse group of fashion luminaries. The Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award, named for the fiercely independent, four-time CFDA Fashion Award winner, will be presented to Betsey Johnson.
The Media Award, given in honor of Eugenia Sheppard, the influential journalist who revolutionized fashion reporting during her time at the New York City Herald Tribune, will be given to Instagram.
The Founders Award, given in honor of CFDA founder Eleanor Lambert who is widely credited with putting American fashion on the map, will go to Millard “Mickey” Drexler, chairman and CEO of J.Crew Group, Inc.
The International Award will go to Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino for their creative contribution to the international fashion stage.
The Fashion Icon Award will go to Pharrell Williams, whose style has made a significant impact on popular culture on an international stage.
Nominations for each award category were submitted by the CFDA Fashion Awards Guild, made up of the 450+ members of the CFDA, along with top fashion retailers, journalists, and stylists. The nominees, as well as recipients of the honorary awards, were confirmed earlier today at a meeting of the CFDA Board of Directors.