LONDON, United Kingdom — The Fashion Awards, the British Fashion Council's high-production celebration of the industry's talent and rising stars, returned to the Royal Albert Hall in grand style on Monday night. It marked the second annual ceremony since the council decided to expand the event into a global production worthy of coverage from inside and outside the industry. It also marked Dame Natalie Massenet's last hurrah as chairman of the BFC, a position from which she is stepping down at the end of the year and which was marked by a confetti-filled musical finale.
The Fashion Awards were again hosted by British comedian Jack Whitehall, joined this time by model Karlie Kloss, a clever addition to the proceedings who wore looks by each of the best designer nominees throughout the night. The venue also benefited from a new format, layout and staging for the audience of 4,000 that filled the space of Royal Albert Hall.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell's remembrance of Azzedine Alaïa, who passed away unexpectedly two weeks ago in Paris, was the emotional highlight of the evening. "Papa would have liked it that my sisters join me tonight,” she said, and with that 13 of Alaïa's muses from different points of his career — Stephanie Seymour, Eva Herzigova, Mariacarla Boscono, Farida Khelfa, Imaan Hammam, Veronica Webb and more — joined her onstage. "Azzedine was a protector, a teacher, a seeker and defender of all that is good and positive in this world," said Campbell. "I am proud to be honouring, along with his daughters, a giant of fashion and a true master of humanity."
The evening was full of personal tributes. Dame Anna Wintour, Condé Nast Artistic Director and editor-in-chief of Vogue, presented outgoing Burberry chief creative officer Christopher Bailey with an Outstanding Contribution to British Fashion Award. And later, singer Rita Ora surprised the audience with a rousing performance of "Freedom" by George Michael in honour of Donatella Versace, the recipient of the Fashion Icon Award also presented by Campbell.
Jonathan Anderson, the most nominated designer of the night, took home awards for Accessories Designer of the Year for his work at Loewe, presented by Amber Valletta, and British Designer of the Year for Womenswear for his work at his namesake label, presented by Zendaya. (Back in 2015, he was the first designer to win two categories.)
The 2017 Awards saw several repeat winners in fact, including Gucci chief executive Marco Bizzarri, who was once again presented with the Business Leader award, this time by Annie Lennox. Craig Green once again won the award for British Designer of the Year for Menswear, which was presented by FKA Twigs. And Raf Simons, who won both the menswear and womenswear designer awards earlier in the year at the CFDA Awards in New York, took home Designer of Year for his work at Calvin Klein, presented by The xx's Oliver Sim.
Preannounced honourees included makeup artist Pat McGrath, who was honoured with the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator by Eva Herzigova.Bianca Jagger presented The Swarovski Award for Positive Change to Dior's Maria Grazia Chiuri. And Sir James Dyson presented the Special Recognition for Innovation to Stella McCartney.
The Fashion Awards are voted on by 2,000 members of the industry from 38 countries and serves as a fundraiser for the British Fashion Council. Last year, the event raised £700,000 (about $940,000), which supported the BFC's Education Foundation for scholarships as well as other initiatives.
The full list of winners and honorees:
Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator: Pat McGrath
The Fashion Icon Awards: Donatella Versace
Swarovski Award for Positive Change: Maria Grazia Chiuri
Special Recognition for Innovation: Stella McCartney
Outstanding Contribution to British Fashion: Christopher Bailey MBE
Designer of the Year: Raf Simons for Calvin Klein
British Designer of the Year — Womenswear: Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson
British Designer of the Year — Menswear: Craig Green for Craig Green
Accessories Designer of the Year: Jonathan Anderson for Loewe
Urban Luxe Brand: Off-White
British Emerging Talent — Menswear: Charles Jeffrey for Charles Jeffrey Loverboy
British Emerging Talent — Womenswear: Michael Halpern for Halpern
Business Leader: Marco Bizzarri for Gucci
Model of the Year: Adwoa Aboah