The Council of Fashion Designers of America awards (CFDAs) were given out on June 7, 2011. The awards themselves aren't nearly as important to me as what people wore on the purple carpet. And believe me, they wore some interesting outfits!
When critiquing these outfits for this event I'm looking at more than just whether something is flattering. Because the people attending this event are connected to the fashion industry in some way I fully expect each and every one of these people to be stylish and/or fashionable. Being stylish is much more difficult than being fashionable. To be fashionable, one merely has to wear something that fits in with current trends but that isn't trendy. A person who is stylish knows their personal style and the outfit they wear is clearly part of and suits that individual style.
This isn't to say that I'm not looking at whether the outfit is flattering or interesting or attractive because of course I'm looking at those things, too.
There's lots to look at after the jump.
|Erin Fetherston in her own design|
I think this dress is cute but I can't quite tell because it's close to the same colour as her skin. At least it has ruffles for interest. They are ruffles, right? Not a terrible skin disease?
|Vera Wang in her own design|
It's like the lines of her hair and dress are pointing right to her shoes... which look a lot like Birkenstocks. There's nothing wrong with Birkenstocks - they're comfortable and all - but they don't really seem right for the red carpet, do they?
|Emmanuelle Chriqui in David Meister|
Most people who have a piece trailing from their dress would rip it off, not use it to mark the X where they're supposed to stand. Then again, actresses aren't most people, are they?
|Doutzen Kroes in J. Mendel|
Can you tell that she's a Victoria's Secret model with those lumps at the hip and everything? This dress certainly doesn't make her look sexy - although she does look presentable - and there's a wardrobe malfunction just waiting to happen with a slit that high.
|Hana Soukupova in Marchesa|
Now THIS is a way to make a (former) Victoria's Secret model look hot. Those ruffles! Those curves! That iridescence! That side mullet!
|Doo-ri Chung in her own design|
The colour doesn't do much for her and the length isn't all that flattering but the fabric is lovely. But these are fashion awards and I'd expect something more.... fashionable.
|Ashley (L) and Mary-Kate Olsen, both in The Row|
It's hard to find a picture where they're not glued together and there are definitely no individual pictures of them. It's like they can't exist without being closer to each other than most lovers stand in public. Fortunately we can't see the EIGHT bodyguards who form part of their entourage. Seriously, do these two - who disguise themselves as 70-year-olds - have that much to fear?
|Joy Bryant in Rachel Roy|
She's barely-dressed and ready to party at the MTV Video Awards! Wait... what? This is the CFDAs? But she'd fit in so much better at the MVAs than these fashion awards. No one there would care that it's a textured slipdress-towel or that the "nude" lining doesn't match her skin colour.
Some people would look amazing in this greenish-gold lame fabric. Estelle is not one of those people, although she's clearly trying to make up for it by showing off her boobs.
|Miranda Kerr in Michael Kors|
I'm relieved that someone at this event thought to wear super-hero defensive gear. If she hadn't been wearing those Wonder Woman cuffs and belt, who knows what a villain could have done?
|Ashley Greene in Michael Kors|
I made practically this exact dress from a vintage 50s or 60s pattern (except that I put the extra length on the skirt instead of the sleeves). And I also wore black with that exact shade of pink back in the 80s. It's like deja vu all over again!
|Kirsten Dunst in Patrick Ervell|
She's been "rocking" that slicked-back ponytail look lately. I say "rocking" because it's not flattering to her face and she looks like she rushed out before getting her hair done. Of course it also looks like the jacket doesn't fit because it looks like she's trying to pull the jacket down. She wouldn't wear something that didn't fit to fashion awards, would she?
|Judith Light in Pamella Roland|
There hasn't been all that much fashion here, has there? Let's just stop and gaze at this dress for a while. There's just enough asymmetry to draw the eye to her face. The dress fits and is flattering from head to toe. And I love this colour both by itself and on her. Gorgeous.
|Kelly Killoren Bensimon in vintage Azzedine Alaia|
For someone whose job was to interview people on this purple carpet, there are a whole lot of photos of her by herself. Is it her gorgeous hair, her beautiful smile, or the sheer dress?
|Maggie Rizer in Nicole Miller|
For some reason - maybe because this is a fashion event - I expected actual fashion. I'm not sure that this strapless, short dress qualifies as fashionable, exactly. Even the unusual texture, which looks like a top layer of fabric slashed open to display the bottom layer, just makes it interesting but not all that special or fashionable.
|Nicole Miller in her own design|
I have trouble making my own clothes because I want to design for people taller and slimmer than I am. She appears to have the same problem because this dress is more of a shapeless, too-long, sack more suitable for a model than her own figure.
|Karolina Kurkova in Diane von Furstenberg|
It's so kind of this time-traveler to stop and have her picture taken on the purple carpet before being whisked back to 1979 to hang out at Studio 54.
|Kerry Washington in Calvin Klein Collection|
What little girl doesn't love a dress that bells or flares out when she's twirling? It's perfect for dancing around at the playground.
|Shenae Grimes in Rebecca Taylor|
Is wearing a lingerie-styled corset thingy with saggy, big bra cups as a top with pleated pants considered fashionable? I didn't think so. If people aren't going to find you fashionable they should at least find you wearing clothing that fits.
|Naomi Watts in Calvin Klein Collection|
Is there someone in this picture? I can't quite tell because all I see is a wall of neutral colour with some shine in the middle.
|Sofia Coppola in Marc Jacobs|
It's a switcheroo! Sofia Coppola was in her thirties, so this pale, washed out, 12-year-old in this picture can only be her 12-year-old self. Someone should make a movie out of that story.
|Whitney Port in Pamella Roland|
What's the point in wearing a one-shouldered gown if you're going to cover up the bare shoulder with your hair? Maybe she's trying to distract the viewer from this unflattering wedding gown.
|Jessica Alba in custom Diane von Furstenberg|
The "custom" aspect of this dress is making it suitable for her pregnant belly. Which begs the question that if you're going to customize a dress to fit the pregnant belly, why wouldn't you do something to the bodice to make it look less sloppy?
|Liya Kebede in Derek Lam|
I think the black part on the skirt is a godet and the black spot up at the bodice is a built-in bandeau bra. The front view is gorgeous, sin't it? There are no back views of this dress so I suspect that it's not quite as lovely from any other angle.
|Liv Tyler in Proenza Schouler|
Why is she channelling Alanis Morissette in her hair and makeup? The dress is bold and interesting and her hair and make this hot look fizzle out.
|Cynthia Rowley (L) and Amanda Heard, both in Cynthia Rowley|
The two of them make a lovely, balanced picture together, don't they? Cynthia's look is bold and yet suits her; it's a perfect for a fashion designer to wear at a fashion award show. Amanda's look is softer and prettier which is suitable for an actress showing off a designer outfit at a fashion awards show. Love her shoes.
|Pamella Roland (L) and Marcia Cross, both in Pamella Roland|
Another colour-coordinated look! Pamella looks great although she's not really showing off her designer chops with this dress. Then again, enough people at the event are wearing her designs that she doesn't need to show how amazing she looks in her own design.
Now, raise your hand if you're tired of sequinned jumpsuits. Yep, me too. Besides, this particular jumpsuit shows how emaciated she is.
|Donna Karan in her own design|
She has said that the best part of the body is the shoulder, which doesn't age or gain weight. She's on to something, there, because her shoulders look gorgeous in this outfit. if those fluttery things at her hips weren't there, the dress would be a flattering shape - if not a flattering colour.
|Lucy Liu (L) and Monique Lhullier, both in Monique Lhullier|
I like asymmetry as much as the next person, but when the only asymmetry in an outfit is putting a tulle rosette on only one boob, it doesn't work. Still, how cute is it that Lucy is wearing a black wedding dress?
And how is it that Monique Lhullier, designer of dresses that almost always look like wedding dresses, isn't wearing anything that even remotely looks like a wedding dress?
|Alessandra Ambrosio in Prabal Gurung|
Of course she looks amazingly hot. She's a Victoria's Secret model and she's wearing a dress that hugs her every curve and she's styled perfectly. It's hard not to be jealous.
|Carla Gugino in Diane von Furstenberg|
She looks like a drag queen who forgot her wig in this snug sequinned number. I'm not sure that this is a look to which anyone would normally aspire.
|Chanel Iman in BCBG Max Azria|
Another Victoria's Secret model who can't help but look sexy and hot in this dress. The colour is amazing on her. I guess if you want to show off your designs, who better than to pick a Victoria's Secret model to wear them?
|Kathy Griffin in Oscar de la Renta|
I'm not entirely sure why she's at the CFDAs since she's not a fashion designer or involved in the fashion industry in any way as far as I know. At least she showed up in a fabulous dress, albeit with way too many bangles on her arm. If she's not planning on turning her arm into a musical instrument of some kind, she doesn't need that many bangles.
|Sessilee Lopez in Zac Posen (with Zac Posen)|
If a dress on a model makes her hips look big and her boobs look small then what would the dress look like on a real woman? My mind won't let me visualize it because once it's seen it can't be unseen.
|Chloe Sevigny in Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony|
Normally an actress wouldn't really have a reason to be at the CFDAs but she's a fashion designer now, too; in fact, she designed her own outfit. Including those baby-sized wings up at her shoulders. No matter how hard they flap, they'll never fly, and they do strange things to the proportions of the outfit. The skirt is cute.
|Leelee Sobieski in Adam Kimmel|
I didn't realize how much Leelee Sobieski looked like Chloe Sevigny. Maybe they're identical twins who were separated at birth? Somehow Leelee ended up with a better sense of style, however. This tailored suit with its satin belt and contrasting shoes looks fantastic on her - and would look equally amazing on Chloe.
|L'Wren Scott in her own design|
While this is a basic silhouette, she's managed to make it interesting with the fabric and the way it fits. Not many people are wearing her designs at this event so it's important to show off what she can do.
|Karlie Kloss in Jason Wu (with Jason Wu)|
Who knew that even model's boobs sagged? Honestly, I didn't think there was enough fat on her to make anything sag, but those boobs are definitely low. Or maybe it's just the dress that makes them look saggy and also makes her torso look freakishly long.
|Linda Fargo in Jil Sander|
For some silly reason I thought that the VP of Visual Merchandising at Bergdorf Goodman would wear something elegant and gorgeous to the CFDAs. Was I ever wrong.
|Julie Macklowe in House of Toi|
Except for the fact that this green is very noticeable, this dress would be perfect for shoplifting or stealing small children. Think of how much she could hide under that skirt!
|Behati Prinsloo in Rebecca Minkoff|
I see this dress being worn for one of those slow-motion shots of a woman running joyously through a field (for either a romantic movie or a feminine hygiene product), not the CFDAs. No matter where it's worn, I have to say that it's unflattering on this Victoria's Secret model. Apparently they don't look hot in everything. Who knew?
|Linda Gray in Pamella Roland|
I do wonder why actresses attend this award show. Maybe they're there just so that the designers can show off their designs? I like the style and silhouette but the colour leaves her looking sick.
|Devi Kroell in Reed Krakoff|
This dress could have worked and I wanted it to work. Really, I did, because I love the bodice and the black accent. But it's so tight right at her hips that it makes them look wider and I just can't support that look.
She's a fashion journalist from the UK and won the media award at this event. I know her best as the person Jeannie Beker talked to when she couldn't find a designer or model to interview for Fashion TV. Hilary is known for dressing in unusual outfits and she doesn't disappoint here. The multiple, sometimes clashing, colours and patterns; it's classic Hilary Alexander.
|Pamela Love in Ralph Lauren|
I don't know what's so funny or why she's laughing so hard. It's not because of her dress, that's for sure, because this is one somber dress. Sure, it fits her perfectly but the pattern is depressing.
|Cristen Barker in Pamella Roland|
I admit it: I love everything about this dress from the cowl neckline to the embellished t-strap back to the colour to the fabric to the fit. I think this is a fashionable red carpet dress. An interesting tidbit for you is that Cristen here is the wife of Nigel Barker
(of America's Next Top Model
fame), they've been married since 1999, and they have two children.
|Michelle Harper in vintage Adrian|
This is fashion and it's perfect for the occasion. The dress is unusual and interesting, it fits her perfectly, and the overall look is visually balanced. I wish everyone at this event looked so well-put together.
The little black dress might be the go-to outfit for almost any occasion... except for this one, which calls for something a bit edgier. That bag isn't enough but some necklaces might have done the trick, along with an LBD that didn't make her look like a linebacker.
|Leigh Lezark in Helmut Lang|
Apparently the fashion world is tiring of the front mullet dress because the side mullet dress has started to make an appearance. The look is striking if not exactly flattering so is perfect for her (a DJ and model) at this event.
|Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer in Lanvin|
Psst - Aerin, this is an evening event. A t-shirt and pencil skirt might be appropriate for a daytime event but not this one. I know you're the granddaughter of Estee Lauder and have buckets of money so you don't need to try to look your best... but why wouldn't you try anyway?
|Rachel Roy in her own design|
What's wrong with this? Is it the black buttons and silver clutch combo or the way it makes her torso look short and her hips look wide? Is it the black shoes that match the buttons and her hair but that are weirdly dark for the icy blue fabric?
|Daphne Guiness in Abed Mahfouz|
This kind of individual style is exactly what I expect to see (and which we haven't seen) at this kind of event. Everything she's wearing is unusual and yet unquestionably part of her aesthetic.
|Kenza Fourati in Marc Bouwer|
I have no idea what she would normally wear although I think these model-types end up wearing whatever their designer friends give them at events like this. It's a lovely dress in a flattering colour. Why didn't she do anything to her hair?
|Betsey Johnson in her own design|
Funky and unusual, that's our Betsey! I half-expect her to do carwheels down the purple carpet like she's done at her own runway shows. Settling for showing off her biceps is more than enough, don't you think?
|Katie Cassidy with Behnaz Sarafpour, both in Behnaz Sarafpour|
These are simple, flattering dresses. The asymmetric hem on Katie's dress is the most interesting part of her outfit and it works. Behnaz's dress is simple and flattering although the black is a bit dark on against her skin.
|Elettra Wiedemann in J. Mendel|
She'd look perfect standing next to her husband-to-be at the altar on a beach in this dress. Without the necklace she would look like one solid block of neutral.
|Keren Craig (L) and Georgina Chapman (Marchesa designers) both in Marchesa|
Marchesa designs have lots of lace and frills and ruffles and usually look something like wedding dresses. Keren's caftan looks flowy and comfortable and could be worn by a bride. Georgina's dress has more of the lace and frills associated with this brand - along with a hint of a mullet skirt - and if it were longer and white it would be a lovely bridal gown.
|Sophie Theallet (L) and Anais Mali, both in Sophie Theallet|
Sophie: Like other designers, it appears to be easier for Sophie to design for models than for herself. A shapeless halter dress might work for her. The black cardigan makes her hips look wide and her shoulders round. Even though the colour is beautiful, a more tailored silhouette would have made her look hot.
Anais: I... like it? think her boobs look way too high? think it's a lovely bridal gown colour in a decidedly non-bridal silhouette? like the chiffon and charmeuse combination? don't know what to think about the asymmetric ruffles? Yes.
|Sang A Im-Propp|
It's a Little House on the Prairie clown! All she needs is a big red nose and a crazy wig and she's perfect for the role.
|Angela Bellotte in Sherri Hill|
Here we have another Victoria's Secret model looking svelte and sexy. Lucky for us normal people, this dress would work just as well on non-model figures as it does on her. Now that's good design.
|Eniko Mihilak in Robert Rodriguez (with Robert Rodriguez)|
Walking around this event would be a lot more fun than shopping in a store. With all these models wearing all these designers, attendees can't help but get a good look at what each designer can do. This dress would be perfect for occasions where the wearer is feeling bloated since there's so much extra volume at the waist.
I know that this isn't to everyone's taste but I love it. The designer - whoever it is - took a risk putting together this rigid silhouette, asymmetric hem, slashes, and string art patterns and thiat risk definitely paid off! I'd love to see more of this kind of fashion, wouldn't you?
|Zuzanna Bijoch in custom Yigal Azrouel (with Yigal Azrouel)|
A form-fitting, straight dress with thigh-high slits isn't exactly original, is it? Maybe it's the colours that make this dress new and unique. Or maybe it's especially fashionable because a model is wearing it?
|Roberta Myers (with Christian Cota)|
As the editor-in-chief of Elle attending a fashion event, I expect her to look stylish and maybe even fashionable. Between the ruching and silhouette, this dress is a lovely, if totally safe, choice.
|Atlanta de Cadenet (with Chris Benz)|
Those shoes don't work with that dress. Thinking about it, it's the dress with it's curtain tassel belt that isn't working for me - with or without those gorgeous shoes.
|Mary Alice Stephenson w(ith Michael Smaldone)|
Apparently she's some kind of stylist and so I'd expect her to look stylish and flattering in whatever she wears. And she does. The colour is lovely on her (and it happens to be one of my favourites) and while I don't like the asymmetric style myself, it works on her.
|Guinevere van Seenus in vintage James Galanos|
A truly well-designed garment, like this one, stays well-designed - with perfect proportions and balance - even though styles change. Even thought this particular dress isn't in style, it's definitely stylish.
|Shenae Grimes (L) and Rebecca Taylor, both in Rebecca Taylor|
Is wearing a lingerie-styled corset thingy with saggy, big bra cups as a top with pleated pants considered fashionable? How about an ill-fitting, shiny tank top paired with a gathered straight skirt? I didn't think so. If people aren't going to find you fashionable they should at least find you wearing clothing that fits.
|Diane von Furstenberg in her own design|
I know she's not exactly a young woman anymore but that's no excuse for wearing a shapeless dress. A tiny bit of shaping around the waist or a slightly different hem shape would have taken this dress from ok to gorgeous.
She used to be a model and is now creative director for Vogue US. So why is she wearing a shapeless sack with "comfort" sandals that are too small for her? Only the dress collar saves this look from being completely frumpy.
|Anna Wintour in Marc Jacobs|
She looks so friendly, doesn't she? And yet there's report after report of her being a difficult boss (to put it mildly). Her personality aside, for some reason I expected that she would be more fashionable that to wear strappy summer sandals with what looks like an autumn back-to-school outfit. the problem is almost certainly me, of course, and my lack of understanding of what makes an outfit stylish. Or fashionable.
|Jenna Lyons in J. Crew|
Most people who attend this type of event would wear something more formal than a sloppy top tucked into a boxy, too-long pencil skirt. Clearly she's not most people.
|Tory Burch in her own design|
Now here's a stylish outfit with all of the pattern changes. The pattern blocking is slimming and those little pleats below the waist are an inspired touch. Love the yellow shoes with the outfit.
I wouldn't think that she would need to hold up her bum with her bag but maybe it's sore. Her glasses and hairstyle show that she's got a funky edge to her style. Her dress and accessories definitely fit with her aesthetic. This is stylish.
|Nicole Phelps in Prabal Gurung|
I like the dress, with its embellishments up at the top and the flap pockets on the hip. With her messy hair the look seems off, however.
|Brooke Cundiff in Thom Browne (with Thom Browne (L) and Nate Berkus)|
Sometimes someone will wear something that's so wacky that you have to love it. Like this poufy spacesuit dress. Fashion can be about taking risks and if this isn't a risk I don't know what is. Love it.
|Tracy Reese (L) and Toka Sumpter, both in Tracy Reese|
Tracy looks lovely; the nude panels underneath are her skin colour and are sexy but not sleazy. The white spaghetti straps are a gorgeous contrast.
Toka's wearing a black version of Marilyn Monroe's subway grate dress. It suits her (although those shoes make her legs look stumpy) but there's nothing really special or stylish or fabulous about this dress. Maybe if she stood over a subway grate blowing up her skirt it would be better?
|Victoria Bartlett and Eleanor Friedberger|
I think that both are wearing VPL by Victoria Bartlett but I don't know for sure. I wish I knew because I love both looks on these women. The dresses are clearly part of their aesthetic and both women look stylish and fashionable. Gorgeous.
|Nadja Swarovski in Juan Carlos Obando|
She's so lucky because she never has to worry about sticking to her seat or putting her legs against a cold chair because she has those tail things to sit on. As practical as those tail things are, they look ridiculous.
|Amyu Astley in Christian Cota|
She's the Teen Vogue Editor-in-chief. This is the coolest dress ever! I'm a sucker for interesting architectural dresses and this one has those amazing panels with the graduated embellishments. Aside from the fact that it's a little long for her, this is fantastic.
The (slightly) NSFW section
The pictures in this section are Not Safe for Work and/or may be considered offensive by some because they show some relatively tame nudity. Therefore, I've put them at the end of the post so that you can enjoy everything before now and decide for yourself whether or not you want to view what's in this section.. If you think you might be offended or if you think it might not be appropriate to view these pictures wherever you are, please leave this post now. If you don't know what to do, you could go search for something on google
, learn about the human mind on psyblog
, or explore items for sale over at ArtFire
If you stay and view the following pictures, you do so at your own risk.
I know, I know, you can't see anything inappropriate here. So why is she in the NSFW section? Because she's buck-naked underneath this dress and there are pics of her lady bits on the interwebs to prove it.
|Jeisa Chiminazzo in Valentino (with Lorenzo Martone)|
I've said for a long time that when wearing a sheer dress, one's undergarments must either either be obvious and not look like frilly undergarments or must not show. Going braless under a sheer garment is neither stylish nor fashionable (unless the garment is designed to show off the nipples).
Our dear Lady Gaga was named Fashion Icon at the CFDA awards. Her style and image are truly unique. She isn't afraid of wearing clothes made of unconventional materials or in unconventional styles. Nor is she afraid of showing off her body.
While she made a few costume changes through the evening, she always wore a mesh bodysuit and a thong with a line of spikes in front and running up the bum strap. On the purple carpet she wore a strapless corset top with spikes on the cups and a huge tulle mullet skirt. For the stage she removed the skirt, keeping the corset top, spiked thong, and mesh bodysuit. For the after-party she kept the spiked thong and mesh bodysuit but ditched the corset top in favour of black pasties worn under the bodysuit. And since I know you want to see all of these outfits that I've described, here they are.
|Lady Gaga in Thierry Mugler|
Naturally she's wearing something unusual from head to toe. I don't always like what she wears but it's clearly her style. n this outfit, you might wonder whether or not she's going to have a wardrobe malfunction.
|The wardrobe malfunction was inevitable. I know that she wears pasties later in the evening (see below), so why didn't she wear them earlier in the night? At least then it would have looked like she'd planned for the malfunction to happen.|
|A spiked thong doesn't seem like the most comfortable thing to wear, does it? Then again, neither do 12" heels and she's wearing those, too.|
photo credits: zimbio.com, dailymail.co.uk
|The aforementioned pasties (and I ask again, why wasn't she wearing them earlier when the bodice slipped down?) plus the front view of her spiked thong. I've had nightmares where I'm wearing something like this. Nightmares. I couldn't imagine going out wearing something this revealing. Of course I'm not Lady Gaga, am I? At least she ditched the crazy heels.|
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