February 15, 1993 12:00 PM

THIS IS WORSE THAN THE ACADEMY AWARDS,” SAID BARBRA Streisand, averting her eyes from the flashbulb lightning while making her grand entrance into Manhattan’s Lincoln Center for the 12th annual Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards ceremony.

The fashion industry went seriously Hollywood on Feb. 1 to honor its own. Streisand even postponed her return to L.A. so she could watch her clothes confidante Donna Karan receive the Menswear Designer of the Year Award. Elton John gave the International Award to his pal Gianni Versace. And Cher presented the accessory prize to Chrome Hearts, three L.A. bikers turned jewelry designers who thanked “all the classy, sleazy bitches who wear our S—-.”

There were also some haute grunge types on hand, like Tatum O’Neal in a crocheted top and bell-bottoms. “Fashion,” said O’Neal, who accompanied women’s wear honoree Marc Jacobs, “is about making a statement.” Model Linda Evangelista made a statement too—but not with her see-through outfit by new designer winner Anna Sui. Evangelista came with Kyle (Twin Peaks) MacLachlan, fueling rumors about the state of her five-year marriage to Gerald Marie, who heads her Paris agency.

And then there was the unaffiliated Liam Neeson. Asked who designed his tux, Neeson said, “I don’t know. It fits after five years, and that’s all I care about.”

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