DESIGNER AWARDS : The Winners Are . . . Short, Simple Looks

If the Academy Award nominees are wondering what to wear March 25 to filmland’s biggest fashion extravaganza, the 10th Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards, held Monday night at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, may have provided some cues.

Fashion’s version of Oscar Night honors designers and others for their contributions to the worldwide stature of American fashion. This year’s winners included Donna Karan for women’s wear, Joseph Abboud for menswear and Manolo Blahnik for accessories. Christian Francis Roth picked up the new-talent award.

The looks that took top honors: white for night, with black velvet and lace as runners-up. Simple looked more chic than showy. Long lost out to short.

The white stars: former CFDA president Carolyne Roehm in her own short, full-skirted, white trench dress; Charlotte Neuville in her white jacket with beaded buttons and tight, short, white skirt with pastel, crystal-beaded fringe, and forever funky Betsey Johnson in her white sweater-knit minidress, white mesh hose and white platform heels.

The basic black brigade was led by Liza Minnelli, who accepted a posthumous award for Halston, wearing the designer’s black jeweled lace tunic, jacket and pants.


Ivana Trump had it both ways in a vintage black and white pleated chiffon gown by James Galanos of Los Angeles.

Joan Rivers, who presented shoe designer Blahnik with his second CFDA award, accessorized her black lace Chanel suit with pearl jewelry.

“It’s half Harry Winston and half Joan Rivers Jewelry Collection,” said the comedienne-turned-designer, who was shod in Blahnik heels.