On June 3rd, the great and good of American fashion will convene at Lincoln Center in New York City for the annual CFDA Fashion Awards. Given out by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a non-profit industry organization founded in 1962 by legendary publicist Eleanor Lambert, the awards honor excellence in fashion design, and are widely considered the “Oscars of fashion.”
In 2000, Mr. Valentino became one of the first non-American designers to receive the CFDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Actress Ashley Judd presented him the award, and the frock she wore that night offered its own testimonial to Mr. Valentino’s achievements: Judd had on an iconic Valentino look, a fitted white evening gown constructed of silk coils, from the house’s Spring ’93 Haute Couture collection. Later that evening, at a party celebrating Valentino, there was yet more Valentino to be found on the dance floor set up at the Four Seasons.
Though Mr. Valentino won’t be attending the CFDA Awards this year, there’s no doubt he’ll be there in spirit. The president of the organization is now Diane von Furstenburg, an old friend, and the newly established Founders Award is being given to another longtime pal, Oscar de le Renta. (The only two fashion shows Mr. Valentino attends, in New York, are those of DVF and Oscar. )
The CFDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award isn’t the only honor that’s been bestowed on Mr. Valentino. His laurels also include the Cavaliere di Gran Croce and the Cavaliere del Lavoro, the equivalent of Italian knighthood, and in 2006 President Jacques Chirac named Mr. Valentino a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.