Every year, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund celebrates the industry’s most promising talents. Since its inception in 2003, the program has produced many masters of American fashion, including Proenza Schouler, Rodarte, Altuzarra, and Christopher John Rogers. In 2021, given the ongoing challenges of Covid, the competition looks a little different: all the finalists receive a cash prize and mentorship—there is no single winner.
Last night, New York’s haute monde gathered at Wolf, the sleek restaurant inside Nordstrom’s 57th Street flagship in Manhattan. On the department store’s second floor, a striking exhibition displays the work of the designers. As editors, creatives, models, and muses embraced after long periods of separation, the party felt like a homecoming.
“This is my first fashion party in nearly two years,” confessed Danielle Frankel, the bridal designer and 2019 finalist. Caviar cakes and flutes of Champagne circulated. Attendees, donning the designs of finalists past and present, turned the room into a kaleidoscope of color. At the bar, Varsha Thapa and Tami Williams exchanged a laugh while wearing the same baby blue sheath by Prabal Gurung.
Of course, the night was to honor the accomplishments and toast to the future of ten brands and the visionaries behind them: Batsheva Hay (of Batsheva), Zoe Latta and Mike Eckhaus (of Eckhaus Latta), Anifa Mvuemba (of Hanifa), Akua Shabaka and Rebecca Henry (of House of Aama), Kenneth Nicholson, Jameel Mohammed (of Khiry), LaQuan Smith, Abrima Erwiah (of Studio 189), Edvin Thompson (of Theophilio), and Willy Chavarria (of Willy).
“I’m thrilled to see everyone back together,” said Alexandra Michler, Vogue’s Director of Fashion Initiatives, as she surveyed the energetic crowd. “All the designers are so talented. I can’t wait to watch what they do next.”