It was a pot pourri of colours and people. A mix of students, fashion lovers/addicts, journalists and bloggers, influencers and celebrities, as well as prominent fashion industry names.
Monday night is not a traditional choice for a black-tie event, as Movida experts would tell us, but regardless, the house was full.
Sequins and crafted/embroidered outfits were the most popular options, not only on the main stage but also shining bright among the guests: unusual sunglasses completed unique looks; a plethora of colours with gold and silver featuring heavily; and giant eccentric shoes normally confined to the pages of fashion magazines. Creativity was the order of the evening.
Definitely not a traditional black-tie event, it was a great occasion to see the real fashionistas and understand that the real winner in fashion is originality: you create your own style. Designers give us inspiration, we build on this with amazing pieces, and we fall in love with them and mix and match them to create our personal look.
During the ceremony, awards were given for the most distinguished fashion brands: this year Fenty, Christopher Kane and Bottega Veneta were among the winners.
British Menswear Designer of the Year went to Kim Jones, creative director at Dior Hommes. The designer’s edgy work has won him numerous fans, including David Beckham and Robert Pattinson, who have worn his exquisite tailoring and streetwear-inspired collections both on and off the red carpet.
Other accolades included Rihanna’s Fenty, winning the Urban Luxe prize, while Remo Ruffini for Moncler walked away with the Business Leader award.
Naomi Campbell, Sarah Burton and Giorgio Armani were also honoured in the Special Recognition Awards. Naomi Campbell is not only one of the most well-known models worldwide, but her incredible contribution to the fashion industry earned her the recognition of Fashion Icon 2019. Sarah Burton was awarded the Trailblazer Award for her work as Creative Director at Alexander McQueen, and Giorgio Armani won the Outstanding Achievement Award for his contribution to the global industry.
Additional guests included Top Boy star Little Simz, who performed with the London Contemporary Orchestra in a nod to the series set on the fictional Summerhouse estate in Hackney, while in the background the design pieces by Central Saint Martin students were displayed. This is a tradition which sees members of the next generation of design talent produce an outfit from simple white rolls of fabric.
Daniel Lee, the multi-awarded creative director of the Italian brand Bottega Veneta, took the stage to reflect on his career achievements and the role of the fashion industry at such a divisive political time, calling on all younger talents and providing invaluable advice.
The night saw also the rise of the awarded model and activist Adut Akech, who highlighted the never-ending need for greater diversity both within the fashion industry and society as a whole. Her comments showed her belief in herself and trust in her own talent: “Whatever it is you want to do, whether it’s modelling or acting or medicine, you should never doubt yourself. Don’t let the world convince you that it is not possible.”
The evening was also peppered by by numerous contributions from the music scene: Boy George, Eric Clapton and the Australian pop star Kylie Minogue each presented awards, as well as Janet Jackson, who – wearing a all-black ensemble by Stella McCartney announced Rihanna’s brand Fenty as the winner.
On the stage, Vogue’s director Anna Wintour in a beautiful and raffinate sequin black and white dress also paid homage to the talents who are no longer with us: the loss of Karl Lagerfield will be irreplaceable to Chanel: “No designer had more esoteric references, he was a renaissance man,” Wintour said of a man renowned for incorporating everything from literature to technology to pop culture into his collections.
Finally, since fashion is not only creativity but also progressiveness and innovation, the topic of sustainability as a business imperative for the industry could not be avoided: Stella McCartney and Atelier Swarovski joined forces to create environmentally conscious Fashion Awards 2019 looks for three models.
As the designer explained to Vogue: “Sustainability is at the core of everything we do”. What’s encouraging is a rising awareness of climate change and a desire to promote a positive environmental message is now inbuilt into each of these models’ consciences. The designer has been a pioneer of a circular fashion idea for many years, where the search for new natural materials, created in the laboratory, is accompanied by the practice of not discharging material waste, but give everything a new lease of life.
Climate change featured boldly in the opening headlines, but also supply chain transparency, material provenance and new approaches to waste reduction and the aim towards a better world for all humans. Respect for the planet is clearly the watchword.
The evening ended with this last shot, with the awareness that the future of fashion is closer than we think, and that innovation is the key to reaching new frontiers and going beyond the concept of fashion.
See below the winners of this 2019 edition of British Fashion Awards: