Supermodel Veronica Webb was one of the original Victoria's Secret angels and the first Black woman to sign a beauty contract. Though she's retired from the days of walking on Alaïa's runway in Paris, Webb remains tapped into the fashion industry. On Monday, she attended the CFDA Awards with New York-based designer Eric Javits. For the past 10 years, he has supplied designer headwear and straw accessories at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, and Nordstrom — and now, Webb for the CFDA Awards.
It was Javits' hats that first appealed to Webb, who would see them as she shopped. "I've always noticed his hats when I go shopping in places like Neiman Marcus," she tells Refinery29. "Over the years I’ve actually owned a few… I’m always 100% down to support real artisans, real craftsmen, real designers, so when Eric Javits called me, it was something that I really wanted to do, because he also makes a lot of his stuff right here in New York."
Javits is just as enamored with the supermodel, and was honored to dress her for the CFDA Awards. "As a tenured supermodel, who has worked with all of the top houses, she’s extremely knowledgeable about fashion, the juxtaposition of various elements: the fabric, the gown’s fit, how it moves, the impact of color, and how all this contributes to the final look," he says. "I believe we both felt an instant synergy, mutual respect, and admiration."
Javits saw the supermodel's CFDA look as an opportunity to show his range as a designer. "Most of my peers don’t even know I can design dramatic evening gowns and headpieces," he explains. "I just thought it would be fun to showcase a broader range of my design aesthetic and what better person than Veronica to help me do this."
Wearing Javits' towering floral headpiece and an off-shoulder gown, Webb was one of the best-dressed guests at Monday's CFDA Awards. She loves to attend each year because the organization supports designers at every phase of their career. "It’s a special night for users and models and designers, all mixed together in celebration of some of New York’s most talented people," she says.
As far as how the CFDA can support emerging designers, Webb thinks it would be interesting for the organization to pair designers with models who are in the prime buying age of their clients, which she says is likely 35 to 55.
"I believe in the initiative because it will target the demographic of women who have the cash and can make the buying decisions in the households. That might be another way to bring a stronger clientele to emerging designers," she asserts.
Webb believes the fashion industry is making progress in terms of age diversity, but more can and should be done. "We’re beginning to see the needle move on that, yes, but until every time I open a magazine, I see women of all ages mixed together as symbols of beauty and fashion, we still have a way to go."