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Behind the scenes of the CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund 2021 cocktail

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Were all the winners here, said Abrima Erwiah of Studio One Eighty Nine at yesterday afternoon’s cocktail party celebrating CFDA’s 2021 class /Vogue Fashion Fund. Like a lot of things lately, this year’s event was different from previous iterations. Typically, the CVFF cocktail party is the framework of a design challenge, the opportunity for participating designers to present their works (designed according to specifications given to them by Vogue) on the bodies of their muses. This year, however, there was no competition (things got pretty tough like that!). As Erwiah says, the designers of CVFF 2021 all a wona cash scholarship, as well as mentorship from leading industry figures.

Representatives of this age group (which includes Batsheva Hay from Batsheva; Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta from Eckhaus Latta; Anifa Mvuemba from Hanifa; Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka from House of Aama; Kenneth Nicholson; Jameel Mohammed from Khiry; LaQuan Smith; Abrima Erwiah of Studio One Eighty Nine; Edvin Thompson of Theophilio; and Willy Chavarria) however arrived with a muse, meaning the event, held at Spring Place, was very well dressed.

On Batsheva Hay’s arm was singer and artist Kilo Kish, who sported a black and white ruffled and pearl-cut Batsheva dress. The designer herself wore a similar figure in a tomato-red wet-leather textile. Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Lattas’ date was model Paloma Elsesser, who looked radiant in the two-piece knit ensemble that opened their latest collection. It only happened this morning, Latta said of the look. And, sure, Paloma looks amazing, but the shed looks amazing in anything.

Erwiah’s date was writer and performer Alok Vaid-Menon, who sported incredibly colorful locks with a Studio One Eighty Nine look that included a Kente fabric button-down shirt and polka dot skirt. I recently learned the word chromophobia, they explained, a fear of color and that’s a real thing. I feel so empowered by the color, I just thought, why not wear them all today? Erwiah, who produces almost everything for his label in his grandparents’ native Ghana, echoed the sentiment. Western culture is particularly afraid of men of color. Poorly dressing men who hesitate to wear vibrant designs, but they will come back to tell me about all the compliments they have received, and then they will ask for more!

And looking around the event, which was sponsored by IMG and Afterpay, it was a pretty colorful crew. Former fashion founder Hillary Taymor of Collina Strada was distinctively vibrant in contrasting prints, actress Laura Harrier brooded in red, and Studio One Eighy Nine co-founder Rosario Dawson wore a brilliant array of stripes. You could just feel the optimism, the youth and the spirit in the room.

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2/ https://www.vogue.com/slideshow/cfda-vogue-fashion-fund-cocktail-2021

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