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Rihanna gets 2014 Fashion Icon Award Tom Ford honored

NEW YORK, June 3, (AP): Fashion rules are made to be broken, Rihanna told a glittering crowd of fashion industry leaders on Monday, and her outfit dramatically conveyed that message: a sheer fishnet gown, sparkling with thousands of embedded crystals, that left little underneath to the imagination. The singer cemented her role as a fashion luminary by receiving the 2014 Fashion Icon Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Her trophy was presented by Anna Wintour, the powerful Vogue editor, who said that with Rihanna, “the point is to be audacious — even jaw-dropping or button-pushing.” Accepting the award, Rihanna spoke of her origins in Barbados, where “I didn’t have a lot of access to fashion.” But, she said: “Fashion has always been my defense mechanism.” Even as a child, she told the crowd, she used to think: “She can beat me, but she can’t beat my outfit.”

“I can compensate for all my weaknesses with my fashion,” she said, adding: “There are rules, but rules are meant to be broken.” Also honored at the annual CFDA ceremony at Lincoln Center were a number of top designers. Joseph Altuzarra won the womenswear award, and the menswear prize went to Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, the duo behind the Public School label. Sisters Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen of The Row won the accessories award. The international award went to Raf Simons of Dior, and the CFDA lifetime achievement award went to designer Tom Ford, who quipped that he hoped it didn’t spell the end of his career. “Please have me back in another 25 years,” Ford joked. “I promise I’ll wear a toupee and walk with a cane.”

An emotional high point of the ceremony was the bestowing of the prestigious Founders Award to Bethann Hardison, a former model and modeling agent who has been a vocal champion for diversity on runways. She was introduced by model Naomi Campbell, who choked up when she described her admiration for Hardison. When Hardison came onstage to accept her trophy, so did 16 models of color, standing behind her and smiling. She spoke passionately of the need for diverse runways — “just let them model,” she said — and added that things were improving throughout the industry on that score. The annual CFDA show, hosted this year by director and screenwriter John Waters, always draws a mix of fashion insiders and Hollywood. This year, one of the biggest names was Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, who presented the womenswear award to Altuzarra.

Nyong’o, who has become as famous for her choices on the red carpet as her skyrocketing acting career, told the crowd that if there was one thing she had learned in a year of film festivals and awards shows, “it is the power of fashion.” She wore a cropped Suno jumpsuit, in multi-colored stripes. Other Hollywood stars in attendance included Blake Lively in a short Michael Kors dress, and Emmy Rossum in a green chiffon J. Mendel gown. Greta Gerwig wore a bright orange Zac Posen gown. Sure, living in the White House has its perks. But a clothing allowance is not one of them. First ladies feel all sorts of pressure to project a fashionable look, and over the decades they have tried a range of cash-saving strategies to pull it off without going broke.

Some frugal do’s and don’ts that first ladies have tried over the years:
Trot out retreads: Even first ladies recycle their clothes. Michelle Obama recently welcomed military moms to a Mother’s Day tea wearing the same shirtdress she had worn to lunch with Katy Perry in 2012. Lady Bird Johnson put her 1965 inaugural gala gown, a white peau de soie dress with a beaded bodice, back in the rotation three times over the next two years. Buy off the rack: Laura Bush experienced the “ultimate in clothing faux pas” when she selected an $8,500 red lace Oscar de la Renta gown to wear to the Kennedy Center Honors in 2006 without modifying the design. “In the book, that red dress had looked perfect.” Hunt for bargains: Betty Ford wasn’t afraid to economize. She shared clothes with her teenage daughter and used scarves to make the same outfit look different.

Find a benefactor: When Jacqueline Kennedy caught criticism for wearing pricey French fashions, her father-in-law stepped in to defuse the issue. Joseph Kennedy offered to pay her wardrobe bills, if she used Oleg Cassini, a family friend, as her personal couturier.  Borrow stuff: Nancy Reagan raised eyebrows by borrowing high-priced designer gowns and jewelry as first lady, sometimes without returning them or reporting them on her husband’s annual disclosure forms. Raise some cash: Mary Todd Lincoln ran up $27,000 in bills for clothes and household items without her husband’s knowledge, roughly equivalent to $700,000 in modern times, and then badgered Republican politicians to pay up to “help me out of my embarrassment.”

Try creative writing: Theodore Roosevelt’s wife, Edith, would wear the same dress to multiple events, Anthony says, but vary the descriptions in her press releases. In the days before video and 24/7 media coverage, that made it seem as if she had more clothes than she did.

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