With Selena Gomez, Suki Waterhouse, Erykah Badu, Hailey Baldwin, Adwoa Aboah and even Miss Piggy on the red carpet, the Fashion Awards delivered high glamour at the Royal Albert Hall in west London on Monday night.
As expected, 2017’s power players triumphed at the ceremony. Christopher Bailey, who will leave Burberry in 2018 after 17 years, received a surprise award. The outstanding contribution to British fashion accolade was presented to him by Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue.
Jonathan Anderson, who designed a collection for Uniqlo this year, won two awards – for the accessories he creates for the Spanish label Loewe and the British designer of the year (womenswear) for his JW Anderson brand.
Gucci has been this year’s runaway success story, with revenues up 49% in the third quarter of 2017. Marco Bizzarri, the brand’s president and mastermind of the so-called Gucci-fi-cation of fashion, won the business leader award.
Pat McGrath, the celebrated British makeup artist, received the Isabella Blow award for fashion curator. This has been a good year for McGrath, a respected innovator since the 90s. She launched the popular Pat McGrath Labs collection of cosmetics and was named British Vogue’s beauty editor-at-large by the style bible’s new editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful.
The new more inclusive and creative mood of the industry was recognised. Aboah, who was on the cover of Enninful’s first issue of Vogue and leads the feminist collective Gurls Talk, was named model of the year. The rising star Charles Jeffrey, who put men in ballgowns at his most recent show, received the emerging talent (menswear) prize.
The award was presented to him by fellow designer and nightclub veteran John Galliano. Michael Halpern, the New York-born London-based designer, received the emerging talent (womenswear) prize for his sequinned party dresses worn by the likes of Amal Clooney. Craig Green, whose catwalk shows have featured wooden structures carried on the backs of male models, won British menswear designer of the year.
International designers were also included. Raf Simons won designer of the year for his standout collections for Calvin Klein; Off-White won the urban luxe category. The label, which has gone from cult to mainstream this year, is designed by the Kanye West associate Virgil Abloh. The latest collection paid tribute to Princess Diana, with cycling short suits modelled by Naomi Campbell.
Maria Grazia Chiuri, the creative director of Christian Dior since 2016, was given the Swarovski award for positive change. This was in recognition of her activism on the catwalk – most famously with the “We should all be feminists” T-shirt she designed last year. “The feminist movement that has been mine for the longest time has finally struck a resonant chord in society,” the designer said.
It was also a night where longer-serving members of the fashion industry were awarded. Donatella Versace – who produced one of the most memorable fashion moments of the year when she put five of the original 90s supermodels on the catwalk in September – celebrates 20 years designing for Versace this year. She received the fashion icon award. And there was a tribute to Azzedine Alaïa, the Paris-based Tunisian designer who died in November.
Stella McCartney, who recently called for the industry to reduce textile production, was given the inaugural special recognition award for innovation. The chair of the British Fashion Council, Natalie Massenet, described McCartney as a fashion pioneer. The award was presented to the designer by the British inventor Sir James Dyson.
This was the last Fashion Awards to have been overseen by Massenet. The businesswoman, who founded Net-a-Porter in 2000, was announced as non-executive chair of the online fashion retailer Farfetch in February. She will take up the role at the beginning of next year.