Last night, CFDA President Diane von Furstenberginducted a whopping 31 new and talented designers to the council's ranks, including Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, Alexander Wang, Chris Benz, and Jason Wu.
Before Diane von Furstenberg took the reins of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, apparently the number of yearly inductees was about half the number joining the organization this year, but Furstenberg's approach has always been more inclusive, treating the CFDA more like a family.
And, indeed, there was much familial mingling at the Four Seasons last night, as new members mixed with established members like Vera Wang, Rebecca Taylor, and Tory Burch. Some even revealed their early fashion ensembles -- Chris Benz, for example, wore Cookie Monster slippers, while the Olsen gals as pre-teens tailored grown-up clothes for their smaller figures.
Inclusiveness aside, there was some buzz and surprise over the inclusion of the Olsen twins, not necessarily because they lack talent -- on the contrary, the ladies have created two well-received lines in the Row and Elizabeth & James, and are now even branching out into eyewear -- but because they've never really participated in the New York Fashion Week machine in quite the same way that some of the other inductees have. Alexander Wang and Jason Wu, for example, have become highly-anticipated fixtures of fashion week, and their fall and spring collections are reviewed with some panache every year. Same goes for Chris Benz, an up-and-comer with much promise.
The Olsens, on the other hand, are known more for their retail abilities than their participation in the seasonal grind -- but that doesn't mean that they aren't some of the young key-holders to the future of fashion, a fact that Diane von Furstenberg is likely on the pulse enough to appreciate.