Instead of staying home to catch the finale of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” or slipping into Craig’s for filet mignon and truffle fries, a squadron of stars got gussied up Sunday for the Daily Front Row’s third annual Fashion Los Angeles Awards, which took place at Sunset Tower Hotel.
Of course, the paparazzi were there waiting to get photos of guests, presenters and honorees. In the lineup were Givenchy-clad Kim Kardashian West (sans her sartorial-minded husband, Kanye West, but there to celebrate and introduce honoree, photographer Mert Alas), Nick Jonas (the host of the awards show), Nicki Minaj, Cindy Crawford, plus Fergie (on hand for a lively introduction of honoree Minaj).
And in one of those new Hollywood/old Hollywood moments, one of Tinseltown’s ageless (and longtime) working girls, Minnie Mouse (sans Mickey), was in the mix, wearing a polka dot frock as she weaved through the assortment of models, actors, fashion journalists, singers and other guests for photo opportunities with Kardashian West, Minaj and others.
The crowd on hand included Beyoncé’s stylist, Ty Hunter; “Empire” co-creator (and awards show presenter) Lee Daniels; model Shaun Ross; Ashton Kutcher, dressed in a blue suit and there to present one of the night’s awards; another model/It girl Hailey Baldwin; YouTube sensation and Maybelline’s first male beauty star, Manny Gutierrez; and model/It boy and father-to-be Lucky Blue Smith in what appeared to be a Gucci shirt.
At times feeling like a self-help meeting or a secret gathering in someone’s plush Bel-Air basement, the evening of fashion stars had a through line, from the patio-side chats and TV sound bite moments to the awards ceremony.
The big takeaway from the speeches was a message about empowerment — empowerment in the beauty of finding yourself, in being vulnerable, importance of working with a stylist who knows you (the message in Kutcher’s speech) and why we should “stick together and stick it to the man.”
The latter was proclaimed by “emerging talent” honoree Paris Jackson, daughter of the King of Pop, during the end of her rousing speech about doing her part to better humanity and the importance of civil rights. The crowd wildly cheered as Jackson, wearing a Naeem Khan dress, left the stage.
Despite presenter speeches that were often confessional and sometimes brazen, the honorees themselves generally offered general thank yous, words of advice and, as Minaj eloquently expressed, the importance of fashion as a connecting force in the world.
Alas, the famed photographer and host of a packed post-awards-show party at Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills, was named creative of the year. Model and Tommy Hilfiger collaborator Gigi Hadid was honored for best design debut.
After an introduction about the new model, the audience was told Hadid was ill and unable to make the trek from New York to pick up her D-shaped award. However, another Hadid was there. Gigi’s mom, former “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast member Yolanda Hadid, was named mother of the year.
Scottish designer Jonathan Sauders, who’s busy reinventing Diane von Furstenberg’s brand, was named designer of the year, and Stella Maxwell, a Victoria’s Secret Angel, was named model of the year.
Others honored this year were Presley Gerber, son of supermodel Cindy Crawford (who was in the audience with her husband, Rande Gerber, and model-daughter Kaia) as emerging model; and Stephen Gan, editor-in-chief of V Magazine and VMAN, creative director of Harper’s Bazaar and founder of Visionaire, who picked up the visionary award and urged the audience to ask its followers to support fashion journalism by buying an actual magazine from a newsstand, not just looking at photos online.
Karla Welch, whose roster of clients includes Justin Bieber, Ruth Negga and on-hand-presenter Busy Philipps, picked up the women’s stylist of the year award, while Samantha McMillen, who works with Kutcher, Mark Wahlberg, Charlie Hunnam and others, picked up men’s stylist of the year.
Having spent years dressing others for major events, McMillen said during her speech: “I can’t say it’s not fun to wear a Gucci dress.”
While picking up the fashion rebel award at the end of the awards event, Manaj managed to accomplish several things while standing at the podium. She delivered a passionate, female-positive, pro-immigrant, expletive-laced speech while appearing to deliver a bit of a clap back in her ongoing public beef with Remy Ma.
Before leaving the stage, Minaj told the audience she was proud of each person for whatever they were accomplishing in life, and this wasn’t going to be the last they’d hear from her.
“I took some time to rest,” said the rap star who recently signed with Wilhelmina Models’ celebrity division. “But now I’m coming back, ...”