It’s possibly the only awards show in the world where the celebrities sitting in the audience are often the most star-struck people in the room. (Win the love of a designer and your red carpet dilemmas vanish.) Widely considered the Oscars of the American fashion world, the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) awards held in New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom celebrates the superstars of stateside luxury fashion, with the occasional international talent recognised for good measure.

Hosted this year by Seth Meyers, the event saw the usual tidal wave of fashion-savvy stars walk its red carpet, including Nicole Kidman, Salma Hayek, James Franco, Lupita Nyong’o, Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Kate Bosworth, Olivia Palermo, Diane Kruger, Chloe Sevigny, Karlie Kloss, Lily Aldridge, Mandy Moore, Chloe Grace Moretz, Heidi Klum, Hailey Baldwin, Olivia Munn and Armie Hammer.

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Popular makeup legend and CFDA 2017 winner Pat McGrath, with models Karen Elsom and Adwoa Aboah, and actress/activist Sarah Sophie Flicker
Credit: Getty Images

Menswear Designer of the Year: Raf Simons for Calvin Klein It’s been a whirlwind 18 months for former Simons, who ended speculation after his shock resignation from the French house and subsequent MIA status by finally confirming his appointment as the first creative director to head up all arms of the Calvin Klein business. Considered my many to be the most talented ready-to-wear designer currently alive, his appointment sent ripples of excitement through fashion media, eager to see his interpretation of the quintessential American brand. Last September at New York Fashion Week, he delivered, so last night the CDFA judges did too, giving him top honours over other finalists Robert Geller, Tim Coppens, Todd Snyder and Thom Browne, another favourite with the NY style set.

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Brother Vellies accessories designer Aurora James and model Hailey Baldwin
Credit: Getty Images

Womenswear designer of the year: Raf Simons for Calvin Klein Hands up, runners up: if you’re going to watch someone else claim the big-stakes trophy you’re short-listed for, might as well be the man who’s an industry icon and was widely expected by those in the known to sweep the award floor (which he did). Simons elbowed out equally respected New York residents Marc Jacobs, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen for The Row and Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez for Proenza Schouler in the women’s clothing realm. (Fun fact: Calvin Klein is a past CFDA winner too.)

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Accessory king Stuart Vevers and actor James Franco
Credit: Supplied

Accessory Designer of the Year: Stuart Vevers for CoaCH Despite gently-spoken British designer Vevers being a man of few words IRL, his bags have always packed huge creative and commercial punches. Widely credited as the man who put UK brand Mulberry back on the map when he took the helm as creative director, sparking a run of ‘It Bags’ that cemented the brand’s cool factor, Vevers then went on to do the same for Spanish brand Loewe, before moving across the pond to New York to reinvigorate Coach in 2013. Job done, then. Other finalists included Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel for Mansur Gavriel, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen for The Row, Irene Neuwirth and Paul Andrew.

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Off-White founder Virgil Abloh and friend Bella Hadid
Credit: Getty Images

Other CFDA 2017 winners: 

Swarovski award for emerging talent: laura kim and fernando garcia for monse Co-finalist Virgil Abloh, who turned up with Bella Hadid, might have the cool factor slash celebrity friend advantage, but Monse’s contribution to driving the statement collared shirt trend this season is impossible to deny. Tough competion from Sander Lak for Sies Marjan, Gabriela Hearst, Laura Vassar and Kristopher Brock for Brock Collection and of course Abloh for Off-White.

Fashion Icon Award: Franca Sozzani, Editor in Chief of Vogue Italy (posthumous) Late last year, the fashion world lost one of its most loved creatives, the formidable magazine boss, fashion visionary, philanthropist and United Nations ambassador and mother who was as known for her warmth as her influence. Sozzani’s film maker son, Francesco Carrozzini accepted the award from his mother-in-law-to-be, Anna Wintour.

International Award: Demna Gvasalia for Vetements and Balenciaga Presented by Alek Wek for the designer’s outstanding contribution to fashion on an international level.

Inaugural Swarovski Award for Positive Change: Kenneth Cole “My story’s one of an American designer who uses the platform he has to make the difference he can,” said Cole of being the first ever recipient of this award, presented by Jon Bon Jovi.

Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award: Rick Owens An appropriate choice for the award named after the fiercely independent, four-time CDFA award winner.

The Founder’s Award: Pat McGrath Bestowed in honour of the woman who is considered to have put American fashion on the map, CFDA founder and style icon Eleonor Lambert, who passed away in 2003 at the age of 100. Amber Valletta and Karen Elson co-presented the statue.

The Board of Directors Tribute: Gloria Steinem, Janelle Monae and Cecile Richards This tribute was awarded to acknowledge and celebrate the tireless work each woman has done to support others around the globe and their individual contributions to the historic Women’s March.

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Super snaps: Erin Wasson, Coco Rocha and presenter Karen Elson
Credit: Getty Images  

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