December 10 was a star-studded event for the Royal Albert Hall. The world’s top designers and their celebrity fans from both Hollywood and music have gathered in the historic London landmark for this year’s Fashion Awards, headed by the British Fashion Council in partnership with Swarovski. The annual fashion awards show, which is a fundraising activity for the non-profit BFC, celebrates accomplishments in the industry for the past year. Although it still bestows distinctions for top British talents, the event has dropped “British” off its name to be more inclusive to international fashion designers and personalities.
The event had its pleasant surprises, such as Gucci bagging the Brand of the Year award and Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli taking home the Designer of the Year. Some were announced a month or so before the celebrity-filled night, such as the Outstanding Achievement for Miuccia Prada and the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator for photographer duo Mert & Marcus. And then there are royal surprises, with no other than the Duchess of Sussex attending the show as a sign of support to her new home’s fashion industry. Her unexpected presence became a giveaway for most for another major distinction to be given that night.
It can be remembered that the duchess’ May nuptials unveiled a memorable Givenchy gown, designed by the house’s artistic director, Clare Waight Keller. The relationship did not stop there, as the royal was spotted countless times wearing Givenchy during her official public duties. On Keller’s big night, the duchess also wore an elegant, black custom Givenchy gown that revealed a baby bump. Before naming Waight Keller as the British Designer of the Year for Womenswear, Markle spoke of the personal connection that is harvested when wearing the designer, which suggested that a friendship grew between the two beyond a designer and muse relationship. In her acceptance speech, the fashion designer expressed her gratitude to the duchess as well the late house founder Hubert de Givenchy, who passed away earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Queen of Punk and British designer Vivienne Westwood did not mince words worth pondering on when she accepted the Swarovski Award for Positive Change. Westwood spoke of environmental issues such as climate change, as well the burdens of taxation. An expected winner of the night was Kaia Gerber, who was recognized by the BFC as the Model of the Year. The rising model and progeny of top supermodel Cindy Crawford was also included in a new category, New Wave: Creatives. It is completed by other fashion professionals such as photographers, stylists, makeup artists and influencers who have found a way to successfully express themselves in the industry.
Here is the complete list of winners and nominees, including the awardees for the special categories for the Fashion Awards 2018:
British Designer of the Year, Womenswear: Clare Waight Keller (Givenchy)
Other nominees: Jonathan Anderson (JW Anderson), Roksanda Ilincic (ROKSANDA), Simone Rocha (Simone Rocha), Victoria Beckham (VICTORIA BECKHAM)
British Emerging Talent, Menswear: Samuel Ross (A-COLD-WALL*)
Other nominees: Eden Loweth & Tom Barratt (ART SCHOOL), Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty (COTTWEILER), Kiko Kostadinov (Kiko Kostadinov), Phoebe English (PHOEBE ENGLISH)
British Emerging Talent, Womenswear: Richard Quinn (Richard Quinn)
Other nominees: Sofia Prantera and Fergus Purcell (Aries), Natalia Alaverdian (A.W.A.K.E.), Matty Bovan (Matty Bovan), Rejina Pyo (REJINA PYO)
2018 Trailblazer Award: Kim Jones
Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator: Mert & Marcus
Outstanding Achievement: Miuccia Prada
Special Recognition Award for Innovation: Parley for the Oceans
Swarovski Award for Positive Change: Vivienne Westwood
Image credits: John Phillips, Tristan Fewings, Joe Maher, Jeff Spicer, BFC, Getty Images