One great thing about a black tie event for the fashion industry? You’ll never be bored. Guests at the Swarovski-sponsored CFDA Awards last night wore daring, dazzling looks with no worries of playing it safe for the mass media, since this 7th Avenue version of the Oscars is a little more sheltered than the Hollywood event. That’s not to say the women and men here weren’t elegantly dressed: fabulous gowns and tuxes abounded, but look closely and you’ll see towering shoes, short hemlines and plunging necklines that really pushed the envelope in terms of what works for the red carpet.
Sarah Jessica Parker created the biggest stir of the night in a gorgeous, art nouveau-style Alexander McQueen gown. She presented a Board of Directors Special Tribute Award to the late designer at the ceremony.
The best red carpet looks: Alexa Chung, Emile de Ravin, Jessica Biel, Dree Hemingway, Irina Lazareanu, Sasha Pivovarova and many more – all photos by Gastro Chic!
Alexa Chung worked it in a sheer chiffon gown – vintage? – embellished with a sequin bow. Great accessories too. She was one of several fashion-forward women to wear long sleeves on the red carpet.
Diane von Furstenberg, CFDA president, looking cool and collected in her own design, a twist on a one-shoulder gown.
Zachary Quinto in an unusual tux that featured a ruched black tie band at the neck.
Gwyneth Paltrow and Michael Kors, recipient of the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award. Paltrow was one of several guests to wear a black sequined gown, though the designs now are an update on sequins past. Tiny, scale-like sequins add a really sexy shimmer to body-con dresses.
Alexis Bittar, who would take home the Accessory Designer of the Year award later that night, with style icon Iris Apfel, who has always been known for her fabulous accessories.
Dree Hemingway in beautiful white pantsuit, I think by Calvin Klein. A daring but spot-on choice for a summer black tie event.
Hilary Rhoda in Rachel Roy. Note the trend towards white. Black detailing and silver buttons keep it from looking bridal.
Kate Mara with Brian Atwood. The clashing reds of her shoes and dress were really interesting – a look that was echoed by Zac Posen in his suit.
The continually suave Ed Westwick in a light gray summer suit.
Gorgeous, swanlike Iman, who received the Fashion Icon Award that night.
David Bowie in a rock n roll version of a tux – with scarf instead of tie.
Liya Kebede in Proenza Schouler, flanked by designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough. Styling it with a leather belt adds an extra element of cool.
Tory Burch in her own design. Love how the floral print looks akin to an animal print.
Prabal Gurung and Heidi Mount. Now this is how the fashion crowd does red carpet shoes.
Zang Toi and model Ling Tan in a flowing cape embellished with a design of the New York skyline. Black tie affairs need more capes like these!
Super stylish Irina Lazareanu in 3.1 Phillip Lim. A cream colored suspender skirt worn over a lightweight black leather top adds a cool, deconstructed sensibility to the standard red carpet fare. Also love the black leather belt/choker with ivory flower.
Model Hana Soukupova in one of the best looks of the evening. White dress with black edging and intricate petal details. Excellent short hemline paired with substantial black peep toe booties.
The elegant Glenda Bailey of Harper’s Bazaar.
Lara Stone, the new face of Calvin Klein, and designer Francisco Costa. Another fabulous shimmery black body-con dress.
Jessica Stam in an eye-catching necklace by Dana Lorenz. The sheer paneling of her black dress is sexy but subtle.
Amanda Hearst in Peter Som. Bright yellow was a popular color for this summer black tie event.
Jason Wu and Rachel Weisz. From the side you can really see the beautiful tailoring in Wu’s abstract print dress.
Model Carmen Kass bares almost all in this sexy backless dress.
Alexis Bledel dazzled in this Behnaz Serapfor frock. Love the drop waist combined with a one-shoulder look – part ’20s vintage, part Grecian goddess.
Maggie Grace won for most daringly short hemline in this pale pink chiffon mini dress. Gorgeous shoes and updo, too.
Rachel Zoe used to say she was bad at red carpet posing – but now she looks like she’s getting the hang of it. Here in a plunging V-neck blue sequin wrap dress.
The talented young actress Alison Pill in a silk dress and some kickass shoes.
Gorgeous Dakota Fanning in a white tulle frock. The super short hemline keeps it young and flirty.
Designer Catherine Malandrino always knows how to work the red carpet. Her gown combines a classic ’40s hourglass cut with high-tech abstract print fabric to very flattering and chic effect.
Dreamboat Hayden Christensen in Richard Chai. Chai would take home the Swarovski Award for Menswear later that night.
Zac Posen nuzzles Devon Aoki. I can’t get over his crazy clashing ’70s colors. The look is growing on me.
Devon Aoki’s gorgeous black and white Zac Posen gown.
Ashley Olsen, model Sasha Pivovarova and Mary-Kate Olsen, all in the Olsen’s brand the Row. Love the striking necklace on Sasha.
My favorite Mickey Boardman look ever.
Model Stella Tennant in warm-weather leather: a beautifully draped black dress with intriguing fur-trimmed stiletto sandals.
Doutzen Kroes, who presented an award. Nice pairing of nude patent leather pumps with a classic black dress.
Model Jamie Bochert, who was photographed by Juergen Teller for this season’s Marc Jacobs ads, with actor Michael Pitt. This dress – by Marc Jacobs? – is incredibly chic, with its bronze and black paillettes but most importantly a new silhouette: below-the-knee hemline and long sleeves. One of the most fashion-forward looks of the evening.
Model Molly Sims in sparkly black, a counter trend to the evening’s white dresses.
Brooke Shields and Mary Alice Stephenson. Stephenson’s colorful Naeem Khan dress really lights up a room – it’s very Hamptons hostess appropriate. Shields looks elegant in a classic sideswept gown.
Actress Emile de Ravin in a frilled gray Max Azria dress. More and more 20-somethings are opting for minidresses on the red carpet, and as long as the dress is as beautifully tailored as this one, it’s actually more appropriate for a young starlet than a long heavy gown.
Jessica Biel caused a huge stir when she arrived, looking fabulous in this yellow animal-print silk gown. Great accessories, too.