"I'd like to thank you -- you," Mary-Kate, wearing an all-black ensemble, said, turning to her purple-clad twin, as she accepted.
Jessica Chastain, who wore a sparkly white dress by Prabal Gurung, announced the 25-year-olds as winners at Lincoln Center in front of an audience that drew not only from the fashion world but also from Hollywood.
"Mad Men's" Jessica Pare gave Reed Krakoff his trophy as best designer of accessories, and "White Collar's" Matt Bomer gave menswear designer Billy Reid his.
The previously announced style icon award went to Johnny Depp, but he was on the set of "The Lone Ranger" and didn't attend. He sent an email -- and filmmaker friend John Waters -- in his place.
Standing in front of a collage of Depp's outfits over the years, Waters said, "This man can't look ugly no matter how hard he tries."
Waters also accepted the international award on behalf of Tokyo-based Rei Kawakubo, who won honors as an international designer for her often creative, balloonlike silhouettes created for the label Comme des Garcons. Waters said he was a fan of her clothes -- and she also was a personal friend.
However, he joked, some people might describe her clothes as "disaster at the dry-cleaner," rattling off the slew of warnings often found on washing labels.
Ceremony host Seth Meyers, who started the night in a suit by Band of Outsiders, took on many targets, from John Galliano to Marc Jacobs. After making fun of Jacobs' sheer lace "dress" worn over boxer shorts to last month's fashion gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the industry's other important red carpet event, Meyers proceeded to put on the get-up later in the show.
Using what he called fashion terminology, Meyers described the outfit as "breezy."
And, no matter, he joked, if all the designers and models in the auditorium didn't like his act. "Fashion people like hating things more than they do liking things."
In presenting Tommy Hilfiger with his lifetime achievement award, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour said the designer could be pretty funny, especially in his imitations of famous people such as Karl Lagerfeld, Donna Karan and even Mick Jagger.
"As long as you're not imitating me, we're all good," the famously serious Wintour said.
CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg gave a shoutout to all the designers who have been members of the organization, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. "I'm the mother of all American designers. I can't pick a favorite child."
The CFDA also presents a series of awards sponsored by Swarovski to up-and-coming talent: Joseph Altuzarra won in the women's category, Phillip Lim in men's and Tabitha Simmons in accessories.
On the red carpet, Jason Wu came with Jessica Stam, and Zac Posen with Crystal Renn. Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez escorted Dakota Fanning, who wore an asymmetrical brocade dress.
Karen Elson wore a slashed-bodice green dress by Proenza Schouler, and Doutzen Kroes wore a black gown with a choker collar by Sophie Theallet,
Gurung said the black dress with sheer inserts he made for Zoe Saldana was a one of a kind.
Michael Kors walked in with Joan Smalls, who wore a cream-colored tank dress -- the very first one she tried on for the event.
Kors said it wasn't bad having a model on his arm. "Joan is gorgeous, smart and has the same name as my mother."