Though typically held in midtown Manhattan, this year’s CFDA Awards took up residence in a refreshing new spot—the Brooklyn Museum. From Oprah to Busy Philipps, the most influential figures in popular culture took over the stage of the star-studded event, hosted by television auteur Issa Rae, to present awards to icons Naomi Campbell, Kim Kardashian, and Donatella Versace. But before Hollywood’s A-list could have their fashion moment behind the brick entryway of Brooklyn’s premier destination for art, many of them rushed their way onto the carpet and into the ceremony.
As celebrities, models, and fashion icons traipsed the sustainable black-and-white (but not actually red!) carpet on their way into the museum, photographers and journalists anxiously awaited the arrivals of the biggest names attending what is arguably fashion’s biggest awards ceremony of the year, and W captured every moment—from the sincere to the wacky. Here, a breakdown of everything that happened at the 2018 CFDA Awards.
6:20 p.m. It’s already 20 minutes past the scheduled start time, and the carpet is sparse. Chalk it up to the ceremony’s new Brooklyn location, but everyone appears to be running late.
6:33 p.m. One of the night’s presenters, Busy Philipps, arrives in a glimmery green Christian Siriano suit and rushes past the carpet into the museum to post some Instagram Stories before the show gets started.
6:46 p.m. The excitement of the evening becomes more palpable as the photographers begin to shout. Tracee Ellis Ross comes through, looking radiant in Carolina Herrera.
6:49 p.m. The inimitable Diane Lane arrives—also in a suit—and quips that this summer, she’ll be reading nothing but scripts.
6:51 p.m. Victoria’s Secret Angel Martha Hunt walks the carpet in a striking Thom Browne dress, but all eyes are on her, well, eyes, which are dazzlingly bejeweled with Swarovski crystals. “They’re one of the few brands that can lend you raw materials to play with your look. I decided to try something more editorial with my makeup because the dress could handle it, and I felt like going couture for the eye,” Hunt said, before citing her own fashion icon Kate Moss as a general inspiration. “I remember the first time I met her, she was one of the few people I’ve been starstruck by,” she admitted. “I didn’t know what to say!”
7:02 p.m. Olivia Culpo and Rebecca Minkoff make their way down the carpet to remark that they—like everyone else—are most excited to see “Donatella Versace, Kim, Naomi, everyone!” as they shuffle themselves into the museum.
7:09 p.m. Cynthia Rowley feels a tap on her shoulder, only to jump around and see none other than Diane von Furstenberg standing right behind her. Rowley takes a break from gushing about her friend to the press and congratulates von Furstenberg for being named the recipient of the Swarovski Award for Positive Change. The two embrace in a hug and snap a few selfies—the night’s first genuinely sweet moment.
7:12 p.m. It looks as though Philipps and Lane weren’t the only guests who opted for a suit this evening; Erika Jayne—the first Real Housewife to be invited to the awards show ever—walks the carpet with a custom-made monogrammed Edie Parker clutch and a black-and-white menswear look.
7:14 p.m. Chanel Iman and her baby bump make their appearance on the CFDA carpet in custom Nicole Miller.
7:15 p.m. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Lee Daniels, accompanied by his son, model Liam Daniels, has a confession to make. “No tea, no shade, I really didn’t know what this whole thing was about, I didn’t!” he said of presenting Naomi Campbell with the CFDA Fashion Icon award. “Not until my son hipped me to it! My son is modeling and said, ‘Dad, this is like the Oscars.’ So now I’m nervous, but I’m really happy for her. She’s the reason why we’re all here, I think. She’s my spiritual icon,” Daniels added.
7:30 p.m. After a slight lull in arrivals, a few gasps from the press become audible as Campbell herself shows up in a fringed Calvin Klein dress.
7:31 p.m. Grace Elizabeth and Jourdan Dunn, both in Michael Kors Collection, make their way down the carpet. Dunn—who is also quite the chef—takes a moment to list off her healthy summer menu, which will consist of “a lot of barbecue because I’m kind of not eating meat anymore; I say kind of because I’m having chicken like once a week, so grilled fish and vegetables.”
7:41 p.m. Whoopi Goldberg has made her appearance, in the most Whoopi Goldberg outfit imaginable: A giant, bright magenta Christian Siriano hat orbits her head, matching the rest of her magenta ensemble.
7:50 p.m. Anwar Hadid skirts by as photographers on the other side of the wall can be heard screeching that his sister Gigi Hadid has finally graced the Brooklyn Museum with her presence.
8:03 p.m. Donna Karan makes her way down to the press pit on the carpet. When asked who she’s most excited to see inside the museum, the designer admits that she can’t wait to see just about every designer she’s either worked with or been impressed by over the years. She then swiftly changes the subject, pulls out her phone, and starts showing us all of the photos she took on a recent vacation to Ethiopia. Karan lifts up her shades and tells us that she can’t decide whether she should let her 260,000 followers know she’s stateside. After telling her she could keep them guessing with a few “latergrams” this week, she replies, “So should I post a throwback?” before running away.
8:11 p.m. Suddenly the room goes quiet. The photographers on the other side of the wall have finished snapping their pictures and shouting the names of the various celebrity guests. But that silence doesn’t mean the party is over. In fact, it means just the opposite. The woman of the hour—and receiver of the CFDA’s first-ever Influencer Award—Kim Kardashian has finally arrived, long after her sisters Kendall Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian made their appearances. Everyone knows the party doesn’t actually start until Kim gets here.
8:55 p.m. But really. Kim’s late arrival means that the ceremony is delayed—not that the crowd seems to mind. After all, more time to hobnob with the starry crowd. The biggest crowd seems to be in the center of the room, where Jenner, Hadid, and Kaia Gerber are huddled together.
9:08 p.m. And we’re off! Host Issa Rae takes the stage, opening with some less-than-glamorous throwback picture of herself. There’s also a quick jab at Kanye West’s recent Twitter rants: “I’m about as fashionable as Kanye is black—only when it’s convenient. That joke was my choice, just like slavery.” Unfortunately, no reaction camera to catch Kim’s thoughts on that one.
9:15 p.m. This is not a drill: Oprah—yes, THE Oprah—is here to present the night’s first award. Naturally, the room goes wild (read: Everyone whips out their phones to get a good Instastory). For those keeping track at home, this single room currently boasts Oprah, two Kardashians, and Erika Jayne. Try to beat that at your next soiree.
9:23 p.m. Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen take home the award for Accessory Designer of the Year, and seem genuinely shocked (or maybe the aftermath of Oprah hasn’t worn off).
9:35 p.m. Basically every major American designer—Vera Wang! Tommy Hilfiger! Michael Kors!—is on stage to honor Ralph Lauren as he celebrates the 50th anniversary of his iconic brand. It’s a moment.
9:56 p.m. We’re at the halfway mark, which means a swarm of waiters comes through the room to replace all the empty bottles of Champagne and wine with some new ones. It’s a long night, guys. Meanwhile, Lupita Nyong’o takes the stage to present to Donatella Versace.“I keep coming back for more,” she says of the designer’s wares, stepping out from behind the podium to show off the minidress she’s currently wearing.
10:18 p.m. Kim Kardashian is receiving the Influencer Award, so who better to present to her than the reigning queen of Instastories, Busy Phillips? “Kim, we don’t really know each other that well, but you’re obviously very beautiful and what is so unique about you is your willingness to take risks,” she says by way of introduction. Kim does indeed make a risk when she gets to the podium: trying out a new comedy bit. “I’m kind of shocked I’m getting a fashion award when I’m naked most of the time,” she quips. It kills!
10:38 p.m. Naomi Campbell is not the first award recipient to cry tonight (Hi, Narciso Rodriguez), but she is the most surprising. She gets particularly emotional when thanking “Cindy, Linda, Christy, and Kate.”
10:52 p.m. It’s the final award of the night, and it’s a big one: Womenswear Designer of the Year. An award of this magnitude requires a proper introduction, and boy do we have it: Cate Blanchett, or as she refers to herself, ”a white girl from the suburbs of Australia.” And the award goes to . . . Raf Simons for Calvin Klein. His speech is predictably heartwarming, ending abruptly with “Also, thank you, women.” And with that, good night!