by Nakia P. Thomas
June 3
0 Comments

           Rihanna-CFDA“You will never be stylish if you don’t take risks.” – Rihanna

Known as the fashion world’s Oscars, the Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Awards took place last evening at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, the venue for Mercedes-Benz’s New York Fashion Week.  The annual CFDA event recognizes standout contributions to American fashion in areas across the industry. The event is also attended by legion models—usually wearing, and accompanied by, their favorite designer; industry heavyweights; and even Hillary Clinton. The CFDA Fashion Awards is noteworthy for many reasons, and it is especially so this year since Rihanna is the recipient of the industry group’s Fashion Icon Award.

Rihanna-CFDA5aIf there were any doubts as to why Rihanna was selected for such a reverential award at her tender age, then they were all disabused by her ensemble for last night’s event. There’s not much that I can say to improve upon the stunning picture that her spectacular see-through fishnet dress, gloves and scarf painted. But I’ll give it the ‘ole college try. Rihanna’s bejeweled ensemble was custom-made by Adam Selman and is brilliant (literally, figuratively, and in every other sense of the word)—seemingly embellished with myriad Swarovski crystals.

CFDA-Rihanna2The draw-dropping ensemble is important for a number of reasons. It: (i) confirms Rihanna’s selection as an icon—an icon is as an icon does and her dress is iconic. Period. Punto. Fin; (ii) responds to the Instagram situation without saying a word #slaymen; (iii) affirms Lupita Nyongo’s Met Gala outfit—down to the time period which it references—what a cheeky salute! Real recognizes real after all I can’t understand why folks didn’t like Lupita’s dress in the first place either, Rih; and (iv) last, but not least, solidifies Rihanna’s place as a leading trend interpreter (the dress manipulates a number of current trends—metallics, see-through and mermaid—into a beautiful, cohesive whole), trendsetter, trend forecaster . . . a designer’s dream. Zac Posen presciently stated, right before Rihanna’s arrival on the 2014 CFDA Fashion Awards’ blue carpet: “[Rihanna] marches to her own drum and she knows what she likes . . . that’s why people love to dress her.”

Rihanna-CFDA9Rihanna is presented with the CFDA’s Fashion Icon award by Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour

I know you’re here for the clothes though—all of the attendees’ attire, not just Rihanna’s. In short, everyone looked nice albeit relatively staid compared to Rih-Rih. It was also a colorful affair: Heidi Klum was just peachy; Iman and Bridget Moyahan wore jewel-toned turquoise, indigo and violet, respectively; and Beth Behrs wore an emerald green crop-top/midi skirt combo. Metallics abounded, especially silver, with Karen Elson wearing a gilt-laden cocktail Michael Kors number and Thea Andrews in a molten silver Grecian-inspired number.  The Mermaids wore mermaids, including Naomi, Solange, Hilary Rhoda and Chanel Iman—who wore Monique Lhuilllier. Rachel Roy and Jenna Lyons looked smart in dark blazers paired with florals—each topped off her scholarly look with a severe chignon.

See what everyone else wore in the gallery below. Congratulations to the nominees and winners!

 ALTUZARRA, JOSEPH ALTUZARRA
Womenswear Designer of the Year

PUBLIC SCHOOL NYC, DAO YI CHOW + MAXWELL OWBOURNE
Menswear Designer of the Year

THE ROW, MARY KATE + ASHLEY OLSEN
Accessories Designer of the Year

CREATURES OF THE WIND, SHANE GABIER + CHRISTOPHER PETERS
Swarovski Award for Womenswear

TIM COPPENS
Swarovski Award for Menswear

IRENE NEUWIRTH
Swarovski Award for Accessories

BETHANN HARDISON
The Founders Award in Honor of Eleanor Lambert

RUTH FINLEY
Board of Directors’ Tribute

TOM FORD
Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award

RAF SIMONS, DIOR
International Award

PAUL CAVACO, ALLURE
The Media Award in Honor of Eugenia Sheppard

RIHANNA
Fashion Icon Award

Curious to know how the selection process works? Nominations are solicited from The CFDA Fashion Awards Guild which includes over 450 member designers, top fashion stylists, journalists, influencers and retailers. Nominees are then ratified by the CFDA Board of Directors and votes are tabulated by Ernst & Young.

Naki

Nakia works as a corporate lawyer for a Fortune 500 company, and as a fashion and lifestyle consultant — providing styling, lifestyle management and concierge services for brands and individuals along the Northeast Corridor, from her home base in New York City via Nakia Thomas Creative. Nakia also provides legal and advisory services to clients in the fashion, art and entertainment industries via Stelle Legal, and appears in that capacity as a cast member in WeTv’s Money.Power.Respect., a docu-series focusing on lawyers in New York City. Nakia is a member of the Board of Directors of Bronx Legal Services, and was previously on an Advisory Board for Moore College of Art & Design. Visit www.nakiapthomas.com for more information.

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