Inside the Daily Front Row's Star-Studded L.A. Fashion Awards
"Fashion is like a f—ed up family. There's so much emotion in it," said ex-Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz to an audience that included Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Keanu Reeves, Gigi Hadid and Carine Roitfeld at Sunset Tower on Sunday.
Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Keanu Reeves and Kate Hudson are well-versed in award acceptance speeches, but presenting awards? Not exactly an everyday occurrence — yet they turned up at the Sunset Tower to honor their stylists, designers and old friends at The Daily Front Row's second annual L.A. Fashion Awards.
And it was quite a crowd — not to mention a well-dressed one — at the stylish event produced by Brandusa Niro and her New York-based team at The Daily Front Row (fashion week magazine and website) on Sunday. You don't see Angelenos dressed like this on a weekend — suits, dresses, heels — but when the New York and Paris fashion elite are popping in, it brings a whole other level of glamour (and pressure) to the circumstances.
Lady Gaga stood out in a sequined long-sleeve Saint Laurent gown with feather cuffs in silver, peach and blue. Jennifer Lopez showed off her hourglass figure in a white gleaming all-sequin Ermanno Scervino bodycon dress. Kate Hudson opted for a black-and-white two-piece by August Getty Atelier. But it was Gigi Hadid who stopped pedestrian traffic at the event in an utterly sheer white gown by Yanina Couture that put her derriere willingly on display. We even spotted Kris Jennifer hiking down the body suit of the dress at one point.
IN THE FRONT ROW: Carine Roitfeld, left, Gigi Hadid and Bella Hadid. (Photo: Getty Images)
Host Nicole Richie — funny, spontaneous and perhaps not a bad host for next year's Oscars — wore a black Valentino halter gown with a high waist, and her hair piled up. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (in a chic short tux dress), Pamela Anderson, Lisa Eisner (bedecked in her own jewelry), celeb florist Eric Buterbaugh, Jeremy Scott, Kaia Gerber, Alessandra Ambrosio and Tobey Maguire (who was there to see jewelry designer and wife Jennifer Meyer accept an award) were among the stylish set to support their fellow fashion insiders.
Jennifer Lopez was the first celebrity presenter up to the podium. "I hate doing this!" she started, appearing a bit nervous. "I'm doing it because I love you! I couldn't be more proud to work with you."
She was speaking of her longtime styling team, Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn, who were named Women's Stylists of the Year. Of course, they gushed about their high-profile client and seemed very genuinely moved that she showed up for them.
BEST-DRESSED: J.Lo with her stylists, Mariel Haenn and Rob Zangardi. (Photo: Getty Images)
"I was once J.Lo for Halloween," host Nicole Richie quipped.
Let's just say this wasn't the Oscars. It was fun, loose, spontaneous and the long speeches conveyed a great deal of warmth and collaboration in the L.A. fashion world — not the stereotypical take on fashion people, let alone Hollywood fashion people.
Perhaps the most exciting moment of the night was when ex-Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz — who rarely comes to Los Angeles from his home in Paris — presented his old friend Eva Chow (who came with husband Michael and daughter Asia) the Fashion Innovator of the Year award.
"I was fired by my own company," he said in his opening remark. "But so was Steve Jobs!" Then he went on to become quite candid, as he is known to do to. "Fashion is like a f—ed up family. There's so much emotion in it. Eva, the most important award to me is that you are my friend." He also killed the crowd with this admission: "I have a double chin, but I knew that isn't a good thing to have in L.A. I went to the best dermatologist in Paris, it cost me a fortune, and this was the best I could do in 48 hours!"
AT THE PODIUM: Alber Elbaz presented Eva Chow the Fashion Innovator of the Year award. (Photos: Getty Images)
During the event, French fashion icon Carine Roitfeld received the Magazine of the Year award for CR Fashion Book; Brandon Maxwell was honored by Lady Gaga with the Best New Designer of the Year award ("I really feel like I might pass out right now," he admitted to the crowd); and Jeanne Yang was given the Men's Stylist of the Year award by Keanu Reeves. "We in the fashion world are actually all so welcoming of difference and diversity," said Yang, who counts Christian Bale, Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Dornan as clients, while observing the crowd.
Bella Hadid, who arrived with boyfriend The Weeknd, was named Model of the Year, a year after sister Gigi was given the honor, and the team behind Baja East (designers John Targon and Scott Studenberg) took home the Designer of the Year Award, presented by model Angela Lindvall. Jennifer Meyer accepted the Best Jewelry Designer award from longtime friend Kate Hudson, who has known Ron and Kelly Meyer's daughter for 36 years. Meyer revealed that when she told her dad years ago she wanted to design jewelry, "He still wanted me to become an agent."
Gaga, among her many accolades, was named Editor of the Year, for her issue of V Magazine that she worked on with its creator, Stephen Gan, who also works on CR Fashion Book and Harper's Bazaar, and is one of the most well respected creative directors in the business. "In this room," Gaga said, "we are all really strange, which I love. I never made a dollar with V — not one dollar! But I won't be paid to wear anything. I only wear what for me has heart and soul."
A private dinner took place afterward at — where else? — Mr Chow, where it was rowdier and more festive than most Sunday nights in L.A.
But then again, these are the fashion folks.