On Monday night, the much-anticipated annual British Fashion Awards took place at the Royal Albert Hall, in London. The ceremony rewards amongst hundreds “the most creative talents and innovative businesses of the year”, states Dame Natalie Massenet, chairman at the British Fashion Council, during a press conference back in October. The Fashion Awards in partnership with Swarovski recognise creativity and innovation in fashion. The Fashion Awards celebrate exceptional individuals whose imagination and creativity have broken new ground in fashion globally over the past 12 months and brands and businesses that have transformed the possibilities of fashion today.
Celebrities flew in from around the globe to assist the prestigious event and join in a common effort to raise funds for the BFC Education Foundation, which aims to distribute grants to the future generation of the industry. Selena Gomez, Hailey Baldwin, Derek Blasberg and Sam Smith were but a few of the distinguished attendees who hit the red carpet dressed in their best suits and dresses.
This year was one of tributes and remembrance for the Awards. The recently deceased “King of Cling”, more modestly known as Azzedine Alaia, was acknowledged in a heartfelt homage by Naomi Campbell and a string of his other muses. Maria Grazia Chiuri, head designer for Dior, also spoke fondly of the late Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, during her acceptance speech, after receiving the Swarovski Award for Positive Change.
Although the ghosts of fashion’s past seemed to be the guests of honor during this fete, they (thankfully) shared some of the spotlight with more than a few of the living. Amongst them, Jonathan Anderson, the enfant terrible of fashion, whose gender-bending designs won him the British Designer of the Year award for his own JW Anderson collection. Not only that, but the 33-year old also racked up the same title within the realm of accessories for his work at Loewe. Raf Simons took home “Designer of the Year” for his contemporary art-inspired collections at Calvin Klein. Christopher Bailey, whose departure from Burberry was just recently announced, was handed the Outstanding Contribution to Fashion accolade by fashion’s high priestess herself, Anna Wintour (editor-in-chief of American Vogue). Other notable award winners include Stella McCartney and Gucci chief executive Marco Bizzarri.
Another eagerly awaited title was the Model of the Year. Amongst the nominees, fashion favorites Bella and Gigi Hadid, as well as Kaia Gerber and Winnie Harlow. Yet British beauty Adwoa Aboah was the one who took the crown this year, after skyrocketing to the high spheres of supermodel stardom thanks to the notable cover she graced for Edward Enninful’s first issue as Vogue UK’s editor-in-chief, in December of this year.
Yet amid this vast body of mentors and laureates, where gods and mortals intertwine, one name rises above all: that of Donatella Versace’s. The designer was awarded the Fashion Icon Award for both her and her late brother Gianni’s longtime achievements at the head of the Versace brand. An honor that transcends all others by its recognition of long-term commitment and accomplishment, all of which build up to shape a full-fledged legacy. In Versace’s case, one that has been ongoing for almost forty years.
To sum it all up, this year’s Fashion Awards was a magical night, where alternated respectful silences for those to be remembered and cheers of joy for newly-announced honorees. A night of joy, nostalgia, charity, and passion — all in the name of fashion.