It’s the most fashionable time of the year — and there is reason it is more fun inside the Royal Albert Hall ceremony than your Oscars, BAFTAs and the likes: photographer access is strict and this show isn't televised. Translation: there’s no camera fixed on a close crop on Gwyneth Paltrow's face, hoping to catch an eye roll, nor is anyone recording Anne Hathaway popping the cork of another champagne.
The latter was a familiar sight amongst guests, as bottles of Moët & Chandon (the awards’ official champs sponsor) really did deck the halls — from magnums right the way down to the mini Moët synonymous with the 90s supermodel set. As such, it was Moët’s table at Monday night’s Fashion Awards that was most lively: see Alexa Chung, glistening in her 16Arlington, mermaid-meets-armour gown alongside its designer Marco Capaldo. Lily James snuggled up to the pair in a Miu Miu frock, whilst award nominees Foday Dumbuya, of Labrum, and Saul Nash chatted with Harry Styles’ stylist Harry Lambert, and ES Magazine’s very own editor, Ben Cobb.
Elsewhere, stellar table line-ups included Hathaway alongside Giancarlo Giammetti, Honour President of Valentino, Gwyneth Paltrow and Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece while on Charlotte Tilbury’s table there was Amal Clooney, Kate Moss and Jourdan Dunn.
Prize for most glitzy couple was battled out between Nichole Scherzinger, who wore a billowing dress of eco-conscious tencel fabric by Patrick McDowell, alongside husband Thom Evans and Rita Ora, who wore a Primark dress with a chrome prosthetic spine by Isamaya Ffrench growing from her back — a striking statement duly licked on the red carpet by her spouse, director Taika Waititi. Sam Smith, who won the Cultural Innovator Award on the night, told designer Christian Cowan they loved him during their acceptance speech.
But the best bonds celebrated at this bash are those between designers and their muses. In one corner you had Graces Wales Bonner, who had arrived with and dressed a dapper looking Lewis Hamilton, Daniel W. Fletcher had presenter Alex Scott and The Crown’s Prince William (Ed McVey) to tow, while Annie Doble — life and soul of the Moët’s prime spot box, alongside presenters Miquita Oliver and Clara Amfo and designer Feben — stayed close by Vogue editor and socialite Tish Weinstock, who was wearing a custom spider-webbed, crystal embroidered sheer gown.