“I know what a lot of you are thinking,” began James Corden, host of the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards on Monday night. “You’re thinking, how many people must have said no for us to end up with this guy? Asking me to host the CFDAs is like asking Terry Richardson to host your daughter’s birthday party.” The English comedian’s jabs didn’t stop there: Before presenting the first honoree, he managed to skewer ex-Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries, the room’s diversity (white gay men from all different areas of Manhattan), and even the CFDA’s partner and sponsor, Swarovski.
Eventually, Corden and the evening’s presenters named the winners, including Tom Ford for Menswear Design, Tabitha Simmons for Accessories, and The Row’s Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen for Womenswear, while the Swarovski awards were presented to Hood by Air’s Shayne Oliver for Menswear, Mansur Gavriel’s Floriana Gavriel and Rachel Mansur for Accessories, and Rosie Assoulin for Womenswear. J Crew’s Mickey Drexler was honored with the Founder’s Award, Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli received the International Award, and Betsey Johnson did her trademark cartwheel while accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award. A short film remembered designers who passed away this year, Chelsea Clinton took to the stage to tell a personal story about the late Oscar de la Renta, and Corden returned just in time to provide a bit of comic relief. “I just saw Chelsea Clinton talking to North West backstage,” he said. “She was asking her what it’s like to be the daughter of America’s most powerful couple.”
A Proenza Schouler-bedecked Kim Kardashian presented the Media Award to Instagram via its co-founder and CEO, Kevin Systrom. “I may be the CEO, but Kim, you are the Queen of Instagram,” he said. Soon after, the other half of “America’s Most Powerful Couple” Kanye West took to the stage to present the Fashion Icon award to Pharrell—but not without first giving the room’s VIPs a piece of his mind. After rapping several lines from his 2013 song “New Slaves,” the rapper-turned-designer criticized the fashion world for not accepting celebrities as designers. “There’s a gross misconception about the idea of a celebrity creator—that adjective celebrity somehow, especially in this room, takes away the idea that there’s any ideas,” he said, eventually segueing into the topic at hand. “Pharrell has always been my fashion idol and there would be no me, no A$AP, without Pharrell being the nicer version of Obama.” Pharrell, for his part, cited varied inspirations such as Harmony Korine’s “Gummo,” Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz, and W’s Edward Enninful. “I’m not a style icon,” he said. “I’m just inspired.”