The Council of Fashion Designers of America will bestow its first-ever title of Fashion Legend to Ralph Lauren at its 25th annual awards ceremony in June. The honor coincides with Lauren’s 40th anniversary in the industry.
“No one deserves it more,” said council president Diane von Furstenberg as she announced a list of honorary award winners at a cocktail reception at Rockefeller Center Monday night.
The council added in a statement: “His vision and innovation epitomizes American design excellence and continues to set the standard in fashion.”
Emphasizing that Lauren is still a driving force, he is nominated in a competitive category, too. He is up against Italo Zucchelli for Calvin Klein, and Steven Cox and Daniel Silver for Duckie Brown as menswear designer of the year. He’s been nominated for the men’s award for the past six years but he last won in 1996. In 1995, he was womenswear designer of the year.
This year’s top choices for womenswear designer are Oscar de la Renta, Proenza Schouler and Marc Jacobs. Jacobs was also nominated in the accessories category with Michael Kors and Derek Lam.
Jacobs’ nominations came on a day that it was confirmed the designer had entered rehab.
U2 frontman and globe-trotting humanitarian Bono will receive the Board of Directors Special Tribute. Bono does indeed have ties to the fashion world, he helped his wife Ali Hewson and designer Rogan Gregory launch the collection Edun, which manufacturers its apparel in developing countries.
In the emerging talent categories, Phillip Lim, Kate and Laura Mulleavy for Rodarte, and Thakoon Panichgul were singled out for womenswear; Michael Bastian, Tim Hamilton, and David Neville and Marcus Wainwright for Rag & Bone for menswear; and Justin Giunta for Subversive, Jessie Randall for Loeffler Randall and Anna Sheffield for Bing Bang for accessories. The winners receive Swarovski Awards that include financial support from the crystal company.
The lifetime achievement award, which will now be called the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Award to honor what von Furstenberg called Beene’s “American excellency” and a $5 million gift from the late designer’s estate, goes to Robert Lee Morris. It’s the first time this honor was being given to an accessories designer.
This year’s international award will go to Frenchman Pierre Cardin, Pulitzer Prize winner Robin Givhan will get the Eugenia Sheppard Award for journalism and the Eleanor Lambert award, which honors the broad category of “imagemakers,” will be given to photographer Patrick Demarchelier.
The nominations are determined by anonymous ballots from fashion editors and writers, retailers, stylists and other designers. The awards ceremony, which usually attracts many Hollywood celebrities as presenters, is slated for June 4 at the New York Public Library.