Inside The Fashion Fund Gala

“Take your seat and drink some champagne.” Thus spoke DVF, and when Diane von Furstenberg speaks, we follow (with Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé, natch). Von Furstenberg was on stage at the sixteenth CFDA/Vogue Fashion Awards gala dinner underwritten by, where she introduced the ten 2019 finalists and received flowers and a Rachel Feinstein Swan from Fashion Fund alums Prabal Gurung and Alexander Wang for her dedication to the program.

Alexander Wang, Bella Hadid, and Anna Wintour

“I consider the designers who went through the fund since 2004 to be a part of the fashion family, and this year, 12 up and coming talents will join our family,” she said. “The 2019 finalists are creative with a unique point of view and voice. They address today’s social and political issues through their designs.”

Indeed. From Collina Strada to Private Policy, this crop of rising talent designs clothes and has much to say about the world we live in while doing it. It’s something 2018 Fashion Fund winner Kerby Jean Raymond has pioneered, and he was on hand to introduce the dance –themed fashion show featuring looks from all 10 finalist brands. But he had to get something out of the way first. “On the count of three, say Happy Birthday to Anna….One, two, three…Happy Birthday, Anna. Tonight, you guys have an important decision to make: Who’s your favorite Scorpio? Me or Anna Wintour?”

You decide.

Alton Mason, Kerby Jean-Raymond, Prabal Gurung, Gigi Hadid, Eva Chen, and Tan France.

And then the fashion show kicked off—a celebration of dance, kicking off with a fiercely-choreographed ballroom number with women in exuberant dresses from Christopher John Rogers with neon wigs performing to Kanye West’s Flashing Lights to Lou Dallas flappers and impressive Hip Hop moves for Private Policy. What’s not to love?

“Oh my god…what was that?” exclaimed Ashley Graham. “That was amazing. This is actually how almost every runway should be.”

Danielle Hirsch, Christopher John Rogers, and Reese Cooper toast with Perrier-Jouët.

Graham was on stage with Paloma Elsesser and Alton Mason to announce the two runners-up – Danielle Hirsch of Danielle Frankel and Reese Cooper – and the winner Christopher John Rogers.

Rogers couldn’t contain his excitement as he accepted the Swan trophy from Graham, who was wearing one of his designs for the occasion.

“I am so thankful to my parents for giving up so much to allow me to be here,” Rogers, who takes home $400,000, said, while also acknowledging his team and the judges “for seeing something in me.”

Congratulations to the winner, runners-up and all 10 finalists!


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