How a Film Inspired the Look of This Year's C.F.D.A. Awards
The 2013 Council of Fashion Designers of America's annual award show was inspired by a film of a country estate in Yonkers—architectural visuals that unified the look and feel of the event.
Billed as the organization's most cohesive award show to date—at least from a production standpoint—the 2013 Council of Fashion Designers of America's black-tie industry celebration realized the vision of the council's president, Diane von Furstenberg. The idea was to bring to fruition creative content that eschewed the individual approach of past award shows in favor of a collective point of view.
For the event at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall on June 3, KCD's team—led by president and partner Julie Mannion and creative director Nian Fish—worked alongside C.F.D.A. C.E.O. Steven Kolb to coordinate the efforts of 12-year sponsor and decor partner Swarovski, award show component graphic designer Keira Alexandra of Employee Number1, and Tony-nominated scenic designer Scott Pask. Pask, who oversaw the set design for the fifth consecutive year, devised the interior framework to enhance the show's screen setting.
Hosted by Bravo reality kingpin Andy Cohen, the night saw guests—including honorees Oscar de la Renta and Colleen Atwood, winners Phillip Lim, Thom Browne, and the Proenza Schouler duo, and presenters Jessica Chastain, Linda Evangelista, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Kerry Washington—swept into the night’s narrative mood from the moment they stepped onto the graphic black-and-white arrivals carpet. Set against a signature C.F.D.A. red backdrop, which was in keeping with the spring season's runway color themes, the schematic effect was evident in everything from the entrance to the black-and-white cocktail party and even down to the catering—providing "a very elegant and unified point of view," said Mannion.
Whereas in past years, each honoree and category of nominees was introduced via its own unique—and, often, unrelated—visual cue, the award program this year grew from a film by Jun Diaz that was shot on location at the historic Alder Manor in Yonkers, the Highline Hotel, and the McKittrick Hotel over the course of one week. The film provided a thematic foundation through which all individual honoree and nominee tributes were connected. "Alder Manor allowed us to tell an interesting narrative that offered variety and mood," Mannion said. "The storytelling idea was the central focus point of view and we drew from that one place this year."
What the film achieved, beyond tying together all the various award components like never before, was the ability to take guests on a journey by using the Renaissance Revival mansion's doors and windows as portals—via well-thought-out black-and-white plates taken from the individual films, no less—into the different worlds to represent each honoree and category of nominees. "The ideas of the rooms in the mansion inspired set design and various decor elements throughout the event," Mannion said.
The build out started the Friday before the Monday awards, and tear down was completed by 5 a.m. the following Tuesday.
Following the awards, guests headed to a trio of after parties: a C.F.D.A. and Swarovski bash at Top of the Standard, Riccardo Tisci's celebration of his International Award at the Westway, and a late-night supper at the Four Seasons Restaurant hosted by Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Vera Wang.
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