- The Coty American Fashion Critics Award was founded in 1942 by cosmetics company Coty as a means to promote and recognize American designers. Recipients were selected by a national jury of fashion editors from magazines, newspapers, and news services. Norman Norell became the first recipient of the Winnie, the name given to the original Coty Award for womenswear. The Coty Special Award went to a designer who excelled in a specific area of the fashion industry such as millinery, intimate apparel, or jewelry. There was also a Coty Award for menswear beginning in 1968. Designers who received more than one award were given the Coty Repeat Award; after they won three awards they were placed in the Coty Hall of Fame and were ineligible for future awards. Famous Hall of Famer recipients include Norman Norell, Bill Blass, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Mary McFadden. By 1985, the Coty Awards had lost their meaning as a result of numerous factors: the same designers receiving awards, increased competition from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Fashion Group International (FGI), and an unsuccessful attempt by Coty to capitalize on the awards with the launch of its Coty Awards Collection of Cosmetics line in 1985.
Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. Francesca Sterlacci and Joanne Arbuckle.
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