At a dinner held at Skylight Soho last night, It-designer Joseph Altuzarra was named the winner of this year's CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award. Jewelry designer Pamela Love and co-designers Shane Gabier and Chris Peters of Creatures of the Wind were named the runners-up. Altuzarra walked away from the evening with a whopping $300,000 to put towards his business, as well as CFDA brand and business mentoring, while each of the runners-up get $100,000.
The winners were decided upon by a selection committee that includes Theory President Andrew Rosen, Proenza Schouler designer Lazaro Hernandez and Vogue Editor Anna Wintour. In a speech, CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg stressed, “Once in the Fashion Fund, we will continue to guide you and protect you.”
The event drew a slew of stars and designers, some of whom have won the award in the past. As last year's winner, Billy Reid, told us: “I feel much more relaxed.” That relaxed feeling unfortunately didn’t extend to this year’s nominees, including the co-designers of Cushnie et Ochs, Carly Cushnie and Michele Ochs. Ochs told us she was “nervous” but “excited to here.” Aside from being nominated, the duo also dressed actress Olivia Wilde for the evening.
During the awards dinner, Calvin Klein gave a rare keynote speech. Von Furstenberg introduced Klein saying, “We met each other in our 20s. We have done some good and bad.” Wintour said of the designer, “Calvin Klein was always able to pluck someone from obscurity and change our perception of them."
Klein spoke about his journey from a rising star designer to multi-billion dollar powerhouse, offering up plenty of advice to the designers in the crowd looking to emulate his success. "The thing I most believe in is trusting your instincts," said the designer. "Be confident or act as if you are.” Speaking to this year’s nominees, he said, “I started out much smaller and with probably much less money than all of you."
After Klein’s speech, The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo actress Rooney Mara announced the winners. Altuzarra had lobbied hard for this year’s win, after being passed over for the award last year. Speaking about that loss, he told TheNew York Times, "I was sad.” He added, "I learned from the experience."
He was also nominated for the Swarovski Award for Womenswear at this year’s CFDA Awards, but lost out to Prabal Gurung. In his acceptance speech, Altuzarra said, "I’m so grateful and humbled.” Immediately following the win, Altuzarra went to call his mother, Karen Altuzarra -- who also happens to be the CEO of his company -- to tell her the good news.