2011 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards - Altuzarra [Pictures]

Altuzarra Takes Home the Big Prize at the 2011 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards

2011 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards

>> Last night at Skylight studios in New York, the 2011 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winners were announced. Joseph Altuzarra, a favorite the past two years running, took home this year's prize — $300,000 and a year-long mentorship. But the impact of the award lasts much longer than a year, CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg explained: "Once you are in the Fashion Fund, we will protect you and continue to provide you with opportunities.” Pamela Love and Creature of the Wind's Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters were named runners-up, collecting $100,000 each.

Calvin Klein gave this year's keynote speech, focusing on his own days as a young designer. “I started out with less money than probably all of you nominees tonight,” he told the crowd. Of coming up in the '60s and ’70s, he noted: “I dealt with truck men, unions, and gangsters. I got a call from the Gambinos one day, telling me, ‘We are your truck men.’”

Altuzarra's friend and the 2008 Fashion Fund winner, Alexander Wang, told him to "just zone out" during Klein's speech, and just before Rooney Mara announced Altuzarra as winner, von Furstenberg went over to the designer's table, pinched his cheek, and asked him something in French. “She asked me if I went to pee,” Altuzarra told The New York Times. When the announcement finally came, Altuzarra told the audience, “I’m so grateful and humbled.” Love, while accepting her award, announced: “I didn’t prepare anything because I didn’t expect this — and I’m shaking!” before running backstage to hug her fiancé, Matthew Nelson. And Gabier said to the crowd, “You’ve made us really happy and we hope to make you really proud.”