New York-based glossy fashion industry gossip sheet the Daily Front Row, a mainstay of fashion weeks around the world in print and a daily presence online, staged its second Fashion Los Angeles Awards last night, with honorees including Lady Gaga, model Bella Hadid, jewelry designer Jennifer Meyer and stylist and designer Brandon Maxwell, and high-profile presenters ranging from Jennifer Lopez and Kate Hudson to Paris-based fashion designer Alber Elbaz.
Nicole Richie served as master of ceremonies for the relatively short-and-sweet, one-hour-and-20-minute event at the Sunset Tower Hotel. Jennifer Lopez presented the first award – for women’s stylists – to the team of Mariel Haenn and Rob Zangardi. The evening’s second award, presented by model Gigi Hadid, went to Carine Roitfeld, whose CR Fashion Book was recognized as Magazine of the Year.
Lady Gaga (wearing one of the standout dresses from the Saint Laurent runway show at the Palladium) made her first of three trips to the stage to present longtime stylist Brandon Maxwell with the designer debut award. “I feel blessed every day to work with you,” she said to Maxwell, noting that while he may have been unsure of his career arc from stylist to fashion designer, “We knew this day was coming. … I’m so proud of your first two seasons.”
“I think I’m going to throw up,” Maxwell joked as he took the stage to accept his award. “This is so not chic.” The designer talked about his childhood in Texas, including the fear of getting beaten up for being gay and his early experiments in photography. “I really thought I was [photographer] Patrick Demarchelier when I was 13,” he said along with thanking his parents for their support.
Keanu Reeves was the next boldface name on deck; the actor was in the house to present Jeanne Yang with the award for men’s stylist. The choice of presenter was symbolic because, as Yang had explained to us earlier in the evening, Reeves was her very first client. “We met on a publicity shoot for ‘The Matrix’ 18 or 19 years ago,” she said, “and that’s how it started.”
Jeremy Scott, who was Designer of the Year honoree at the 2015 inaugural event, presented Bella Hadid with the Model of the Year award, noting that he had chosen her to model the final look at his recent New York City runway show. “That’s important,” Scott said, “because you’re the last one to come down the runway and there’s nothing else to focus on. And she served as the exclamation point to the collection.”
Hadid’s acceptance speech included accidentally thanking the wrong publication – the Daily Mail – instead of the Daily Front Row, a mistake she quickly corrected. “Not the Daily Mail,” she said, “they like to talk [crap] about me.”
Next up was model Angela Lindvall, who presented Baja East’s Scott Studenberg and John Targon with the Emerging Designers Award. The duo’s acceptance speech included a shout out to Elbaz (for telling them to follow their dreams) and a bid for potential investors who might help them move to a bigger office space.
Kate Hudson’s presentation of the jewelry designer award to Jennifer Meyer included the observation that the two had been friends since before birth. “I was a fetus and she was a toddler,” Hudson said. “We met because her dad was my mom’s agent.” Meyer’s acceptance speech included a heartfelt thanks to husband Tobey Maguire, whom she credits with spurring her to launch her line. “He said: ‘If you don’t follow your dreams, what are you going to do?’” Meyer said. “And this is proof that your dreams can actually come true.”
Elbaz, on hand to present Eva Chow with the Fashion Innovator Award, was one of the more amusing presenters of the evening, riffing on everything from his dismissal from Lanvin (“I was fired from my own company – like Steve Jobs,” he said) to the advice he received before traveling to the City of Angels (“I was told: ‘They will never talk to you with a double chin’”).
Lady Gaga took to the stage to accept the penultimate award of the evening -- Editor of the Year – which she received for guest-editing V magazine. That award was presented V’s Editor in Chief Stephen Gan.
The evening’s final honoree -- Fashion Icon Award winner Karl Lagerfeld – was not on hand to receive his award. His absence was dutifully explained by the award’s pint-size presenter – 7-year-old Hudson Kroenig.
“He’s the best designer in the world and he’s my godfather,” Kroenig read from his notes. “And Karl cannot be here tonight because Los Angeles is very far from France. So to receive the award for Karl, may I present to you all: Lady Gaga.”
With that, Gaga made her third trip to the stage to accept the award from Kroenig, bringing the star-studded evening to a close.