At last night’s CFDA Fashion Awards, Law Roach received the first-ever Stylist Award and used the opportunity to reflect on how far he has come. Back in 2016, when his client Zendaya was invited to the CFDAs at the Hammerstein Ballroom, Roach watched from the event’s kitchen. “I saw as the waiters served your food, and I thought to myself, One day, I am going to be on that stage,” he recalled. “And I am an example that anything and everything is possible. There is a little Black gay boy in the fucking ghetto, and there is someone telling him that he will never be shit, and I’m here to tell you you can be whatever you want to be.” The whole room stood up and cheered.
It was a standout moment on a very special night, and not just because of the sheer amount of celebrities in attendance, though there were many — including most of the Kardashian clan, Drake and 21 Savage, Julia Fox, Gigi Hadid, Janelle Monáe, Regina Hall, Jesse Williams, Kerry Washington, Katie Holmes, Ayo Edebiri, and Lenny Kravitz. And it wasn’t because it marked the 60th anniversary of the organization, which has grown to include more than 500 industry members. Or even the fact that it was Drake’s first time in attendance.
What really set the night apart? It was the recognition of Patti Wilson, a trailblazing Trinidadian American stylist who, for much of her career, was unsung by the establishment. It was the Positive Social Influence Award given to House of Slay (Prabal Gurung, Laura Kim, Phillip Lim, Tina Leung, and Ezra J. Williams) and the Environmental Sustainability Award accepted by U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed. It was Virgil Abloh’s widow, Shannon, accepting a posthumous award on his behalf. And most important, it was the difference that the prize money can make for emerging designers like Luar’s Raul Lopez, son of Dominican immigrants, and Elena Velez, daughter of a shipyard worker from Wisconsin.
In a moment that received criticism, Kim Kardashian won the Innovation Award for the body positivity of Skims despite the fact that last time we saw her on a red carpet (the Met Gala), she was talking about starving herself to fit into a dress. Odd, but we digress …
Toward the end of night, Lenny Kravitz, who received the Fashion Icon Award, told a story about how he would sneak into his mother’s closet as a boy and try on her scarves, belts, and platforms. “It was my personal boutique,” he said. “My mother allowed me to dress how I wanted. And I didn’t care what other kids thought.” We know how we feel.