NEW YORK (AP) – The Council of Fashion Designers of America on Monday presented its top fashion awards to Gabriela Hearst for womenswear and Kerby Jean-Raymond for menswear. The two designers led a group of winners who, according to the CFDA, were the most diverse in the 39 year history of the awards.
It was the second honor in two days for Jean-Raymond, the prominent Black founder of the Pyer Moss label, who was also named Designer of the Year by Harlem’s Fashion Row in a virtual ceremony on Sunday.
Winners also included Telfar Clemens, who won the accessories award, and Christopher John Rogers, who won for the American emerging designer. All four were first time winners.
There were no acceptance speeches in a video announcement that lasted less than 10 minutes, but Hearst released a statement sending ‘a kiss’ to her home country, Uruguay, greeting her fellow nominees, as well as designers everywhere, many of them. struggling to survive amid the coronavirus pandemic. “We’re all in this together,” said Hearst.
The designer is known for his sleek power-dressing, such as a teal trouser suit modeled by then-US representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2018 in Interview magazine. The jacket was called the Angela, for black activist Angela Davis.
Brooklyn-based Jean-Raymond, who began working in fashion as a teenager, founded Pyer Moss in 2013. He put the African-American experience at the center of his craft and gained sudden fame with a 2015 fashion show that opened with a long video about police brutality against black people.
He recently said that racism has become more apparent since the 2016 election. ‘We’re digging things up now. We realize that in the fashion industry we had outward racists among us, ”he told the Washington Post in June. “You see images now, you see blackface parties … the kind of thing we went through as young designers, a lot of that stuff was hidden.”
The prize for international women’s designer went to Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino. The International Men’s Design Award went to Kim Jones for Dior.
The awards were announced by designer Tom Ford, chairman of the CFDA and also a current nominee, in a short video announcement on Runway360, the organization’s new digital platform. They were originally scheduled to be presented at a glitzy ceremony in June as usual, but the ceremony was canceled due to the pandemic.