Congratulations are in order as the fashion industry gathers to celebrate, well, itself.
Some of the brightest lights of the fashion industry gathered at Royal Albert Hall on December 5th to hand out (and receive) the Fashion Awards. Dubbed, “the Academy Awards meets the Met Gala”, the much hyped event lived up to its billing. Winners were joined by over four thousand guests, including top models, designers and celebrities with over 260 butlers and armies of stylists to tend to their every need. Hosted by comedian, Jack Whitehall, the stars weren’t the only things dressed to the nines as the Royal Albert Hall was suitably dressed up with over 8,000 Swarovski crystals.
This year the event was simply called the “Fashion Awards”, dropping the “British” part in a post-Brexit world. The fashion industry loves to throw lavish awards nights and galas in the name of raising money for a worthy creative cause (hellooo, Met Ball) and the Fashion Awards are no different. While the event’s main purpose is to serve as the inaugural fundraising gala for the British Fashion Council’s Education Foundation charity which provides design scholarships, it also conveniently doubles as a reason for everyone to get dolled up and hand out some awards.
Inside the Royal Albert Hall, Kate Moss took selfies with Lady Gaga, while Mario Testino (for once not behind a camera lens) looked on. Ralph Lauren stuck close by Natalie Massenet’s side while Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid commiserated about the cold. Elsewhere, Marilyn Manson could be heard declaring that model Adwoa Aboah tulle swathed gown was “amazing!”. Everywhere, people air-kissed or handed off champagne glasses to the army of red tailcoat wearing butlers that floated around the dusky pink banquette areas or the tiered velveteen boxes.
To go along with the new name, the Fashion Awards definitely had a more international flavour, with a range of international and British talent taking home the most prestigious titles. Alexander McQueen took out British brand of the year while Vogue was recognised for its centenary year. The fashion world was also keen to recognise a good comeback story, and the revamped Gucci picked up two trophies – international accessories designer for its creative director Alessandro Michele (Jared Leto in tow) and international business leader for its chief executive, Marco Bizzarri. The always interesting Demna Gvasalia was named international ready-to-wear designer for his work with Balenciaga. Meanwhile, the label he co-founded, rebellious Parisian streetwear label Vetements, picked up a brand new award designed to address the rise of sportswear in fashion, international urban luxury brand.
Young talent also showed itself to be on the ascendancy with siblings Jaden and Willow Smith sharing the New Fashion Icons of 2016 title. Meanwhile, it was sister against sister and BFF against BFF as Gigi Hadid beat out her sister Bella Hadid and friend Kendall Jenner, to International Model of the Year. Also honoured was legendary photographer and shaper of American style, Bruce Weber who received the Isabella Blow Award for fashion creator (read our in-depth look at the incredible Weber here). Weber received his award alongside frequent collaborator, Ralph Lauren who received the Outstanding Achievement Award, presented by David Beckham.
While the night went off without a hitch (or ripped seam) there were a few hold-your-breath moments. While Marilyn Manson was presenting to Vetements, he tipped an envelope of salt on the stage and pretended it was cocaine. Why? Only Manson knows. We almost has a full wardrobe malfunction as Craig Green, winner of best British menswear designer, tread on Lady Gaga’s Brandon Maxwell gown on the way to the podium. The quietest moment of the night came when host Jack Whitehall attempted a joke based on the Mannequin Challenge but picked the wrong mark. He joked, “If you need any tips on how to do it then just check out Anna Winter. That frozen-faced lady has been perfecting it long before it was even a thing”, meters away from Ms. Wintour herself. An almost comical hush swept the hall as nobody in the audience dared moved a muscle. Ms Wintour, in her typical fashion, did not react.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a fashion night without photographers on hand to capture every moment of the star studded event and hit the gallery for all the best looks from the night.