Every year, fashion’s veterans and aficionados gather to celebrate the rising stars and icons in fashion at the event affectionately known as the Fashion Oscars—the CFDA Awards. One of the industry’s most significant events, the CFDA Awards shed light on fashion’s talented newcomers and current power players as well as gives flowers to iconic figures that have made a substantial impact within the industry and beyond.
The CFDA Awards have been known to garner some attention. From snubs and lack of true diversity and representation to last year’s social media frenzy surrounding Kim Kardashian’s Influencer Award.
This year’s attention-grabbing headline from the upcoming awards ceremony is the news that singer, dancer, producer and actress Jennifer Lopez will be honored with the CFDA Fashion Icon award. The news set fashion twitter ablaze, with opinions on whether J. Lo deserved the honor or not being split down the middle.
Image Credit: Instagram / @cfda
The news broke Tueday morning (4/16) via the Council of Fashion Designers of America Instagram page, announcing that the CFDA Board of Directors would be giving the “Jenny From The Block” singer the Fashion Icon award for her “longstanding and global impact on fashion.” In a statement regarding the announcement, Chairwoman Diane von Furstenbury had this to say: “Jennifer Lopez uses clothes as a way to express confidence and power. Both designers and fans look forward to her fashion statements.” Also sharing his praise for the Fashion Icon recipient was the CFDA president and CEO Steven Kolb: “Jennifer Lopez’s style is bold, uninhibited, and always memorable. Designers, including many of our CFDA Members, love to dress her for both stage and private moments.”
The organization credited the “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” singer’s fashion impact to her numerous show-stopping red carpet looks, on-stage performance fashion moments and music videos that have been cemented into pop culture world history. Upon receiving this highly coveted award, Lopez will join the ranks of previous honorees Pharell, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Naomi Campbell and the late Franca Sozzani.
Praise and exclamations of those in favor of the CFDA’s latest Fashion Icon recipient flooded social media, referencing noteworthy red carpet moments and influential music video style moments—elements that found their way into closets and street style inspiration all over the world. The most referenced red carpet moment from the Maid in Manhattan actress was the iconic Versace tropical leaf silk chiffon plunging dress that she wore to the 2000 Grammys. The moment surrounding the dress was a moment of cultural significance because, up to that point, the red carpet fashion for women was fairly tame. J. Lo in that dress literally broke the Internet.
Image Credit: Page Six / Popsugar
Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmit in an essay in January of 2015 highlighted that this moment was the most popular search Google had ever seen at the time, but there was no way for Google users to get the specific image of J. Lo in the Versace dress. From there, Google Image Search was born! Pretty iconic moment. Other notable fashion fan favs were her fur-trimmed baby pink coat in “All I Have,” the pink velour short set in “I’m Real” (the girls always love a good [velour] set), the bikini top + baggy pant combo from “If You Had My Love,” and the tank + cargo pant + Timberland heel moment from “Jenny from the Block.” The latter example was definitely a popular example of J. Lo’s impact on street style—this look was seen duplicated everywhere. A recent credited style moment comes from this year’s Oscars red carpet—Lopez wears a fitted, long-sleeved mosaic mirror tiled Tom Ford gown, one that got a lot of people talking. Designers like Tom Ford, Donatella Versace, Zuhair Murad and Balmain are some of the signature partners that have aided in crafting her signature look over the years. The “Medicine” singer is the embodiment of sexy chic, is no stranger to the curve-hugging garments and the naked dress trend (one that she is a key player in) and is known for a high slit + exposed thigh moment. The Selena actress has definitely had fashion moments and has an unquestionable sense of personal style. That much is undeniable.
Image Credit: Bustle
Image Credit: People
Image Credit: Bustle
Honorable mention: J. Lo at the 2000 VMAs | Image Credit: Who What Wear / Us Weekly
Image Credit: Daily Mail
Those on the other end of the spectrum who aren’t in favor of the newest Fashion Icon recipient feel that, while J. Lo has her moments, she hasn’t established enough of a range to be able to hold such a title. Though J. Lo’s most significant example of impact began with that 2000 Grammys Versace moment, no other fashion moment from the multi-hyphenate artist hit quite like that one did. What moment topped or came close to that one? Many question Lopez’s true impact on fashion, making the point that her [red carpet] fashion choices are in large a revolving door of similar Zuhair Murad gowns for countless appearances (or just the same type of gown for that matter, lacking any real style variety). Familiar with the infamous Aretha Franklin “Uh…great gowns, beautiful gowns” GIF? That might be more accurate embodiment of J. Lo’s contribution to fashion. Mentions of the cultural impact surrounding the infamous Versace dress have been the most common example of her impact, but many want to know what else can Lopez be credited with. When you take away that moment, what else is left? Credits were made to her music video style and her apparently putting hoop earrings, fur-lined collar bomber jackets, Going Out tops and French manicures on the map. Her repertoire of fashion and style moments almost reads like a credentials list for a Video Vanguard award rather than a Fashion Icon award. This is a good place for a gentle reminder that J. Lo was awarded the Video Vanguard Award at last year’s VMA ceremony, an incident that also sparked conversations that Missy Elliot was much more deserving. On a related note, I noticed a lot of people who would’ve preferred Lil Kim be honored with the Fashion Icon award, for her unwavering fashion impact that can still be seen very clearly within the fashion and music industries. Lil Kim changed the image of the female rapper. She did so with the help of her stylist Misa Hylton, ushering in another leg of the conversation of black individuals who are so deserving of recognition for their contributions to the fashion industry but are often overlooked—Hylton, June Ambrose, Andre Leon Talley. These are just a few names of the true arbitrators of style and immaculate taste, running the show behind the scenes and really deserve so much more, but I digress. That’s a topic to dive deeper into on a different day.
There is much to be debated—and much that has been debated—on whether or not Jennifer Lopez truly deserves the title of Fashion Icon. Nevertheless, on June 3, the “Waiting for Tonight” songstress and recent Pretty Little Thing collaborator will claim and take home this prize. Major congratulations are in order for J. Lo in receiving this award from the fashion industry.
It’s now your turn to decide where you stand on this subject. Do you think J. Lo is a Fashion Icon or just knows how to wear a great garment? Was she a true innovator who carved a lane for sexy, chic fashion (especially on the red carpet) or did she and her team have a great handle on dressing for her body type and sticking to what worked for her?
If not J. Lo, who do you feel would be a great recipient for the Fashion Icon award?
Definitely share your thoughts. I would to hear what you all think!!
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