02/26/1996 at 01:00 AM EST
THE WEATHER WAS COLD, THE COUTURE WAS HAUTE. SO 1,000 NATTY celebrants from the worlds of fashion, film and pop alighted at New York City's Lincoln Center to give, receive and gawk during the 15th Annual Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards. Or, as the event's press release dubbed it, the Oscars of Fashion. But unlike Hollywood's big show, the CFDAs are known for their fashion victors, not victims. "Everybody is checking everyone out, and I can see why," said former 90210er Rebecca Gayheart, slinky in a satin Nicole Miller sheath. "It's great to look at the dresses." In between bites of lobster salad and chicken with vegetables, guests applauded this year's winners, including Ralph Lauren (Womenswear Designer of the Year), Tommy Hilfiger (Menswear Designer of the Year) and Lauren Bacall (Lifetime of Style). "I have won other awards," said French couturier Hubert de Givenchy, clutching the gold-toned statuette for Lifetime Achievement, "but nothing so important as this." Nonwinners found the evening memorable too. Exclaimed O.J. ex Paula Barbieri, on assignment as a reporter for Entertainment Tonight: "I have a press pass! How about that! I'm working!"