VH1 awards fly high fast

Madonna may have been too busy to attend this year’s VH1 Fashion Awards, but she was hardly missed with all the other dazzling stars in attendance. The music channel’s third annual event, celebrating the commingling worlds of fashion and music, aired Oct. 28.

This year’s show found Jim Carrey introducing the Rolling Stones wearing only a fig leaf, Demi Moore delivering an emotional tribute to the late Gianni Versace and Courtney Love walking away with the honor of best personal style in the femme category.

“They’ve come a long way since they started three years ago,” says Vogue’s editor in chief, Anna Wintour. “This one was by far the most high-profile. In terms of the fashion industry, everyone always loves to get an award, but I think (celebs) look on it as fantastic exposure. The designers I’ve talked to just can’t believe the feedback they get from people having seen it on television. And it’s become a really fun event.”

Elegantly attired celebrity presenters included Claire Danes, Jimmy Smits, Naomi Campbell, Donna Karan and Bono. Awards are decided on by a panel of 150 fashion and music professionals from around the world. Along with the Stones, musical performers included the energetic U.K. dance act Jamiroquai, unlikely old timers ZZ Top, En Vogue and Fiona Apple. Honors for designer of the year went to John Galliano (women’s), Helmut Lang (men’s) and Donatella Versace (second collection). Because most fashionable artist Beck was in Los Angeles recording, he accepted the honor via film.

Executive producer Lauren Zalaznick hopes people watching it at home view it like they view the Grammys or Academy Awards. “It’s a glimpse into that fantastic world, even if (the viewer) wears jeans and a T-shirt every single day.”

Zalaznick sees last year’s show as a tough act to follow, because television critics had come to expect a certain level of production that she feels was achieved in this year’s show.

It was the first year the renowned fashion trade publication Women’s Wear Daily reviewed the show — a milestone according to show organizers. The only televised fashion awards — other awards are small and industry-only — the show is rerun for six weeks on VH1 in numerous dayparts. It is estimated that more than 30 million people watched it in 1996.

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