When Calvin Klein gave his speech at the announcement of this year’s Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund winner, he put the struggles of today’s young designers into perspective. “I started out with less money than probably all of you nominees tonight,” Klein said. In the 1960s and ’70s, “I dealt with truck men, unions and gangsters. I got a call from the Gambinos one day, telling me, ‘We are your truck men.’ ”
Klein illustrated just how important the awards are, which awards $300,000 and mentoring to the winner, is to supporting new and emerging designers. This year’s winner Joseph Altuzarra joins the lies of Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, and Doo-Ri Chung, Altuzarra beat out 10 other designers, and recently started his namesake line after stints at Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler and Givinchy. He’s in demand too; last season, net-a-porter sold every single one of his utility jackets the day they went on sale, and he didn’t even go to fashion school!
After the awards, Altuzarra said of winning, “Really, you have this overwhelming sense of being grateful and so appreciative, and just so happy. I don’t know how else to put it. It’s just total bliss.”
And the bliss isn’t going to end anytime soon. CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg said, “Once in the Fashion Fund, we will continue to guide you and protect you.” I wonder if they have a secret handshake…
The runners-up, and receivers of $100,000 each, were Pamela Love, a jewelry designer; and Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters of the Chicago label Creatures of the Wind.