The annual Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards (CFDA) is a magnet for the fashionable and cutting edge, hailed by Vogue as “one of the most prestigious nights in the industry”.
So it was bizarre that so many A-list celebrities, models and designers showed up on Monday night’s red carpet – made from eco-friendly recycled materials – looking so very bad.
There were a stack of severe high ponytails, ugly pantsuits and looks that were more vaudeville costume than high fashion.
Even Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour got it wrong, trying out a new boho look.
Kim Kardashian West exemplified the tone when she took to the stage to accept a CFDA for being an influencer: “I am kind of shocked that I am winning a fashion award when I am naked most of the time.”
That about summed it up. Kim wasn’t naked on the night but showcased her abs as a consolation, looking like she was auditioning for the part of Third Slavegirl in an Arabian Nights pantomime. A bra might have helped.
Meanwhile, sister Kourtney glowered in a spangled Christian Siriano pantsuit with, yawn, plunging neckline that looked like PJs or something a hopeful backup dancer would wear to impress.
Busy Phillips also turned to Siriano for a pantsuit, aiming for a 1970s disco vibe and looking like a G-rated version of a friendly pimp, complete with super harsh hair and makeup.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s deconstructed blazer and sheer lace-panelled pants were reminiscent of a breakdancer performing at a local fete. The over-the-shoe pant made it look like she was wearing old-school netball runners. Designer Joseph Altuzarra knew it was a bust.
Martha Hunt threw everything at it: Thom Browne corset dress with detached skirt (with train), exaggerated silver eyeshadow and tacky sandals. Fembot from the wrong side of the tracks.
This man dictates fashion. Ralph Lauren (with wife Ricky) teamed a tuxedo jacket and bowtie with distressed denim and an orienteering trainer. High comedy. And time for an intervention.
Gigi Hadid appeared fresh from a Cirque du Soleil performance in a love-it-or-hate-it Versace bodysuit.
Whoopi Goldberg also went the pantsuit route, but her version came with a cartwheel hat, giant belt and sense of fun. Actually, this might be fabulous on some levels.
Diane Lane. Pantsuit. Matronly shoes. Cutaway pants that revealed the matronly shoes. More boring than a professor of boring at Boring University. Must try harder.
Madeline Brewer possibly read the dress code as ‘Guest you don’t want to get stuck next to at a 1985 wedding as will drone on about her sewing classes and fabulously behaved children’.
Anna Wintour impersonated a bedspread in a holiday house where there are lots of spooky dollies and a musty smell.
Emily Ratajkowski mixed coy florals with a minxy-but-folksy neckline. And lace. And tiers. And a velvet bag!
Among the disasters, there were standouts. Naomi Campbell, who took home the CFDA Fashion Icon Award, was perfection in scarlet-fringed Calvin Klein with super sexy shoes and lashings of class. The woman you want to be when you grow up.
Cate Blanchett was severe and stunning in a headmistressy Monse silver sequinned skirt with black overlay.
And Kendall Jenner chose a lilac, feathered, one-shouldered dress with clashing elements that made one perfect look. Over-the-top yet refined, she set the standard.