Franca Sozzani, an honouree at this year’s CFDA Awards

“It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for” claims the Council of Fashion Designers of America as it should. After a two-hour board meeting at their Bleecker Street offices earlier this weel CFDA announced the nominees and honorees for the 2017 CFDA Fashion Awards, in partnership with Swarovski for the 16th year.

For the Womenswear Designer of the Year Award, the nominees are Joseph Altuzarra for Altuzarra, Raf Simons for Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez for Proenza Schouler, and Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen for The Row.

The Menswear Designer of the Year Award nominees are Raf Simons for Calvin Klein, Robert Geller, Thom Browne, Tim Coppens, and Todd Snyder.

For the Accessory Designer of the Year Award, the nominees are Stuart Vevers for Coach, Irene Neuwirth, Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel for Mansur Gavriel, Paul Andrew, and Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen for The Row.

This year’s Awards feature a unified Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent that applies to womenswear, menswear and accessory design, as well as new Swarovski Award for Positive Change, which honors an individual in the U.S. fashion industry who has made a positive impact on American communities and has improved the welfare of others.

Laura Vassar Brock and Kristopher Brock for Brock Collection, Gabriela Hearst, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia for Monse, Virgil Abloh for Off-White, and Sander Lak for Sies Marjan have been nominated for the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent.

The inaugural Swarovski Award for Positive Change will be presented to Kenneth Cole.

The Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award, named for the fiercely independent, four-time CFDA Fashion Award winner, will be presented to Rick Owens.

The International Award, given for a designer’s creative contribution to the international fashion stage, will be presented to Demna Gvasalia for Vetements and Balenciaga.

The Founder’s Award, given in honor of CFDA founder Eleanor Lambert who is widely credited with putting American fashion on the map, will go to Pat McGrath.

The Board of Directors’ Tribute will be presented to Cecile Richards, Gloria Steinem, and Janelle Monae, acknowledging their tireless work and achievements on behalf of women around the world, and the powerful voice each had at the historic Women’s March.

The Fashion Icon Award will posthumously be presented to Franca Sozzani.

“Sozzani was one person who really understood what ‘fashion icon’ is and actually helped create many fashion icons” said chairwoman Diane von Furstenberg on CFDA’s decision to honor the late Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani, who passed away in December.

“Von Furstenberg announced some changes to the awards this year” reports BoF. “The first Swarovksi Award for Positive Change will be presented to Kenneth Cole as this addition marks just one way the activism seen on the runways during New York Fashion Week has influenced the awards. ‘I think what you see in the nominations is a real reflection of the state of time’ said Steven Kolb (CFDA’s president and chief executive officer). ‘We really want honor and respect people who are making a difference and making a statement in the industry and beyond the industry’. To that end, the Board of Directors’ Tribute will be presented to Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, activist Gloria Steinem, and actress/musician Janelle Monae for their contributions to January’s historic Women’s March. ‘[Those] women came out so strongly and it was such a wonderful trio, and so we would like to honor them’ said von Furstenberg”.

The annual ceremony will be held on June 5th at the Hammerstein Ballroom.