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Raf Simons wins both top fashion honors at CFDA awards

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/6/2017 By JOCELYN NOVECK, AP National Writer
Raf Simons, winner of the awards for menswear designer of the year and womenswear designer of the year, poses in the press room at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Raf Simons, winner of the awards for menswear designer of the year and womenswear designer of the year, poses in the press room at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Designer Raf Simons of Calvin Klein scored a rare double win at fashion's glittery awards ceremony on Monday, winning both womenswear and menswear honors at the annual Council of Fashion Designers of America awards.

Kerry Washington, center, poses in the press room with Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, winners of the Swarovski award for emerging talent, at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Kerry Washington, center, poses in the press room with Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, winners of the Swarovski award for emerging talent, at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

The ceremony, hosted by Seth Meyers, had an activist bent this year, reaching outside the industry to honor feminist icon Gloria Steinem, Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards, and actress Janelle Monae for their involvement in the Women's March on Washington in January. The three were presented with the Board of Director's Special Tribute by designer Diane von Furstenberg, who said they had "epitomized and crystallized" the march.

Gloria Steinem, winner of the board of directors' tribute, poses in the press room at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Gloria Steinem, winner of the board of directors' tribute, poses in the press room at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

In her remarks, Steinem, a harsh critic of President Donald Trump, said the country is experiencing "a time of hope but also of danger."

Pat McGrath, winner of the founders award in honor of Eleanor Lambert, center, poses in the press room with Karen Elson, far left, and Amber Valletta at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Pat McGrath, winner of the founders award in honor of Eleanor Lambert, center, poses in the press room with Karen Elson, far left, and Amber Valletta at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

"There is backlash from Trump to terrorists against the kind of equality and understanding and simple humanity that we strive for," Steinem said. "So like a woman leaving a violent household, who is then most likely to be injured or killed because she is escaping control, we too are escaping control. We have to be careful and look out for each other."

Kenneth Cole poses in the press room with the Swarovski award for positive change at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Kenneth Cole poses in the press room with the Swarovski award for positive change at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

"Now there is more activism than I have ever seen in my lifetime," she added. "Maybe we are about to be free."

Karen Elson, left, and Sarah Sophie Flicker attend the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Karen Elson, left, and Sarah Sophie Flicker attend the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Simons, formerly of Dior, has made a huge splash in American fashion since arriving at Calvin Klein at the beginning of the year. The Belgian designer presented his debut collection for Calvin Klein in February, to rave reviews. That show was not without social commentary. It opened and closed, pointedly, with the David Bowie song, "This is not America."

Kerry Washington poses in the press room at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Kerry Washington poses in the press room at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

"If we as creatives can be an inspiration for how the world should look," Simons said in his speech Monday night, "I think that it's something we should take as a very important task." Actress Nicole Kidman presented him with the womenswear award.

Gabrielle Union, left, and Dwyane Wade attend the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Gabrielle Union, left, and Dwyane Wade attend the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Other celebrity presenters included actresses Kerry Washington and Mandy Moore, and singer Jon Bon Jovi.

Raf Simons, winner of the awards for menswear designer of the year and womenswear designer of the year, poses in the press room at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Raf Simons, winner of the awards for menswear designer of the year and womenswear designer of the year, poses in the press room at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Richards, speaking after Steinem, earned cheers from the crowd when she said, "health care isn't a privilege, it's a fundamental human right."

Eryn Allen Kane, from left, poses in the press room with Gloria Steinem, Cecile Richards and Janelle Monae, winners of the board of directors' tribute, at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Eryn Allen Kane, from left, poses in the press room with Gloria Steinem, Cecile Richards and Janelle Monae, winners of the board of directors' tribute, at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

"The fashion industry has long celebrated bodily autonomy and free expression and the right of every person to live their life on their own terms," she said. "In this moment, at a time when these principles are being threatened like never before, you are rising up to fight back."

Rick Owens, left, poses in the press room holding the Geoffrey Beene lifetime achievement award with Michele Lamy at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Rick Owens, left, poses in the press room holding the Geoffrey Beene lifetime achievement award with Michele Lamy at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

And in a nod to the extremely fashionable crowd of designers and celebrities, Richards thanked the CFDA for "proving that looking good and doing good go hand in hand."

Cynthia Rowley, left, and Coco Rocha attend the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Cynthia Rowley, left, and Coco Rocha attend the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Monae, recalling the march in Washington, said she was "reminded of all of those faces that I saw ... young, old, gay, straight. I saw different religious backgrounds, it didn't matter because they were together as human beings, and that's the one thing that left with me."

Mia Moretti, left, and Stacey Bendet attend the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Mia Moretti, left, and Stacey Bendet attend the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Monae closed by asking the crowd to "speak out against the sexism, the racism, the homophobia, the Islamophobia, and all those things that are constantly trying to divide us."

In other awards, the Swarovski award for emerging talent went to Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia of the Monse label. They also are the designers of Oscar de la Renta. Accessory designer of the year went to Stuart Vevers of Coach.

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Kenneth Cole won an inaugural Swarovski award for positive change, and the fashion icon award — which in the past has gone to names like Rihanna and Beyonce — was given posthumously to Franca Sozzani, the former editor in chief of Italian Vogue, who died in December. Vogue editor Anna Wintour choked back tears as she presented the award, which was accepted by Sozzani's son, Francesco Carrozzini.

Designer Rick Owens won a lifetime achievement award, and makeup artist Pat McGrath won a founder's award.

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