The Costume Institute Gala might be known as the Oscars of the East Coast — a fete of serious star power assembled at New York’s grandest museum, on the edge of Central Park — but the Met Ball lacks something that’s pretty prominent at the Academy Awards: an awards show. For that, the fashion industry has the CFDAs, which take place tonight at Alice Tully Hall.
In a few hours, the Council of Fashion Designers of America will decide which designers should beat out their peers and end up on the podium. The winners will then ride that buzz into the Spring/Summer 2013 shows, and beyond. And there’s no telling which newcomer will snag the spotlight and find themselves anointed before the well-dressed crowd at Lincoln Center.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen don’t exactly need to raise their profiles, but if they pull off a win in the Womenswear Designer of the Year category, it could be something of an upset. The other nominees in the category — Proenza Schouler and Marc Jacobs — might be considered favorites, unless the Council wants to avoid awarding certain designers who seem to be perennial winners. Jack McCullough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler won the category last year, and Jacobs took home the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 (not to mention the womenswear award the year before that).
Host Seth Meyers will oversee a ceremony that will feature presenters such as Jessica Chastain, whose dresses wowed at Cannes and will likely do the same tonight, and Jessica Pare, the actress who has played opposite Jon Hamm’s Don Draper in this season of “Mad Men.”
Among the honorary awards, the absent recipients may overshadow those in the audience. Rei Kawakubo, the enigmatic genius behind Comme des Garçons, will apparently miss the ceremonies. Not exactly surprising: she hasn’t taken a bow at one of her own runway shows in decades. Another big name not in attendance: Johnny Depp, the first man to take home the Fashion Icon Award, will be on the set of “The Lone Ranger” instead of the steps of Lincoln Center.
Unlike his fellow honoree, Tommy Hilfiger isn’t going to miss out. The fashion and retail kingpin is taking home the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award, and after the show his handpicked few will head over to Monkey Bar for a celebratory dinner.
And then the celebrating continues at the Boom Boom Room, for an after party that, in the past, has gotten pretty raucous. Last year, a barely clothed Lady Gaga — the 2011 Fashion Icon Award winner — performed with Patti LaBelle. We can’t expect this year’s winner to give an impromptu performance, but if the Olsen twins take their trophy, we hope they revisit the partying ways they were once well known for.
See more ARTINFO fashion and style coverage on our blog Silhouettes.