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Zendaya Named Fashion Icon, Anya Taylor-Joy Honored as Face of the Year at CFDA Awards


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Anya Taylor-Joy was the natural choice to be honored as the inaugural Face of the Year at the 2021 CFDA Awards on Nov. 10, says Tom Ford. “Every now and then a beauty comes along who transforms the way we think of beauty,” the designer and chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America told The Hollywood Reporter. “Audrey Hepburn: total original. Uma Thurman: total original. Anya Taylor-Joy, you only need to look at her face and you know that she’s the face of the year.”

That honor and the Fashion Icon prize now comprise a sort of one-two punch of the CFDA Awards, which honor designers, media and influencers in American fashion. Zendaya accepted the latter trophy wearing a midriff-baring bandeau top and bubble-waist skirt in red silk faille by Vera Wang and diamonds by Bulgari. Though she’s just 25 years old, the actress was an easy choice to receive the title of icon, according to CFDA CEO Steven Kolb. “She has made such a tremendous impact on style, and she’s such a fan,” he told THR. “She may be young, but she is an icon.”

Decidedly more intimate than in years past, the guest list for this year’s event was cut in half, Ford noted. It also relocated from expansive previous spaces like the Brooklyn Museum and Lincoln Center to The Grill + The Pool, the pair of Midtown Manhattan restaurants in the legendary Seagram Building, which have long reigned as power hotspots. Guests included Aubrey Plaza, Squid Game star Jung Ho-yeon, West Side Story actress Rachel Zegler, Ciara, J Balvin, Kehlani, Iman, Dove Cameron, Halston actress Rebecca Dayan, Beverly Johnson, Emily Ratajkowski, Karlie Kloss, Cara Delevingne and Tommy Dorfman.

This annual event recognizes the best of American fashion and, in addition to the Face of the Year award, this year the CFDA added a Positive Social Influence Award, accepted by Sara Ziff, founder of The Model Alliance (which promotes fair treatment and equal opportunity in the fashion industry), and an Environmental Sustainability Award, which went to Patagonia.

“We felt it was important that the awards reflect the world we’re living in,” Kolb said. “Sustainability has been important to our work for a long time, while Sara’s efforts for The Model Alliance have played a huge role in ensuring that models are protected both on and off a set.”

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Anya Taylor-Joy

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The night is also a fundraiser, Kolb added, with roughly $500,000 raised this year, allowing the CFDA to both double the number of scholarships it is able to award in 2021 while adding two new scholarships: one for designers dedicated to social-justice issues in their work and another for designers with families impacted by the global pandemic.

The evening’s mix of honorees and winners — the latter voted on by CFDA members and media — also included Aurora James, who received the Founder’s Award for her work as creator of the 15 Percent Pledge, which asks retailers to devote 15 percent of their space to Black-owned businesses.

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Jung Ho-yeon

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Telfar Clemens, whose eponymous handbag collection continues to immediately sell out, unsurprisingly was named the Accessories Designer of the Year, while Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia won International Women’s Designer of the Year. (Read the full winners list here.)

Christopher John Rogers also took home one of the night’s top prizes: American Womenswear Designer of the Year. “Not so long ago I was with my friends, buying whatever fabric we could afford and sewing stuff up in our kitchen,” Rogers noted to THR during the pre-ceremony cocktail party. “And now here we are, dressing amazing, iconic women who have something to say, not just about fashion, but about the world. It’s really humbling.” Rogers’ list of clients has included Tracee Ellis Ross, Cardi B and Michelle Obama.

For this year’s CFDA Awards, Rogers dressed Emily Blunt, who hosted the event wearing a suit in tangerine silk by the designer, with jewelry by Bulgari. As for why the designer feel his work resonates with women in Hollywood? “I feel like I try to make work that allows people to speak for themselves, and not have the clothes speak for them,” he said. “I’m interested in making work that allows people to create their own vocabulary and express themselves.”

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Emily Blunt and Christopher John Rogers

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Bright colors reigned as the night’s red carpet trend. In addition to Blunt in tangerine and Zendaya in red, Taylor-Joy wore a purple peplum suit by Oscar de la Renta, paired with a veiled leopard hat by Gigi Burress and jewelry by Tiffany & Co. Drew Barrymore accompanied Christian Siriano, who designed her frothy tulle ballgown in lemon yellow. “I was looking at Degas at the Chicago Art Institute over the weekend, and this dress manifested from that,” Barrymore explained. “A lot of young girls’ fantasies revolve around tulle and feeling like a ballerina — and I’m anything but a ballerina, so I wanted to experience this fantasy. I also love bright color; it’s so mood-shifting.” Barrymore paired the dress with Lorraine Schwartz earrings and a ring highlighting Paraiba tourmalines.

“Drew wanted to look like Degas and sunshine, which makes sense, because she is sunshine,” Siriano added.

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Drew Barrymore and Christian Siriano

Jamie McCarthy/WireImage

Dapper Dan, an icon of Harlem fashion since the 1970s, received the CFDA’s Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award. “I feel like I finally made it,” he told THR. “The past few years have been incredible, and an award like this just caps it all. Geoffrey Beene laid a foundation that’s so powerful and inspiring; I’m glad to be getting an award in his name.”

“Dap” has been producing capsule collections with Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele since 2017.

“All his life, he wanted to do something different and break boundaries,” said Marco Bizzarri, president and CEO of Gucci, about Dap, who turned 77 in August. “The first time I met him, I felt the human connection. He really cares about people, and like Alessandro, he wants to give everyone the ability to be free and be yourself. Also, he’s in such great shape for his age, look at him! So getting this prize, I’m so happy for him. He’s a great human being.”

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Rachel Zegler and Michael Kors

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