New York might have the Met Gala, its annual May the first parade of mad fashion looks, but in London things are - dare we say - even in the December drizzle, a little chicer. Without a niche, complicated dress code to try and interpret, guests at the Fashion Awards are free to just look fabulous. Last night the BFC’s annual fundraiser also raised the celebrity stakes with serious A list talent on the red carpet: Gwyneth Paltrow (red hot in archive Valentino), Amal Clooney, Anne Hathaway (also in archive Valentino), Pamela Anderson (makeup free in Victoria Beckham), Michael Coel (in Ferragamo).
Other riveting trends of the night included pannier-core, courtesy of Alexa Chung (16Arlington), Maya Jama (Dolce & Gabbana) and model Mona Tougaard (Alaïa); and, the return of the pop sock! Who knew such a styling trick would come upon us, but it’s the year 2023 and here we are. Those taking on the hosiery last seen on your Nan included Saltburn actor Archie Madekwe and Vivienne Westwood designer Andreas Kronthaler, while Sam Smith opted for full leg coverage with a sheer black tight.
Inside the tables were piled high with bottles of Moët and bowls of snacks (it’s fashion darling, they don’t do dinner). The night opened with a performance by up and coming singer Mette, and then quickly segued into the Edward Enninful show.
The outgoing British Vogue editor-in-chief was first on stage to present the former Alexander McQueen designer Sarah Burton with an outstanding achievement award; before stepping back onto the stage to receive his own Trailblazer gong presented to him by Stormzy and Jodie Comer.
Sam Smith performed a stonking medley of hits - including Unholy, before accepting the Cultural Innovator Award from Lena Dunham wearing what she described as a “glamour sweatshirt”. A poignant moment came from a Posthumous Special Recognition award for Joe Casely-Hayford, accepted by his son, Charlie. There was a montage remembrance to the late Dame Vivienne Westwood, too, although some were expecting more of a tribute to the design icon.
Surprise guest of the night Amal Clooney (posher than you’d expect) came on stage to present her friend the makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury, who picked up a special recognition award.
The London-based rising stars Chopova Lowena snapped up the New Establishment womenswear awards dedicating the honour to “our boyfriends and our dogs.”
The finale came from Gwyneth Paltrow, wearing her least favourite colour to honour her “dear friend” Valentino Garavani with the Outstanding Achievement award. The designer was not present, but of him Paltrow offered: “He’s always been there for me in the way he’s been there for the world of fashion, steadfast and shining the way…I tend to be more of a tomboy in my real life and he’s always mad at me for showing up to dinner without mascara saying “why can’t you wear a little lipstick” and he hated that I didn’t like to wear red, so tonight I wear red for Mr Valentino.”
The Winners in Full
Designer of the Year Award: Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson and LOEWE
New Establishment Menswear Award: Bianca Saunders
Outstanding Achievement Award: Valentino Garavani
Special Recognition Award for Contribution to the Fashion Industry: Charlotte Tilbury
Special Recognition Award for Championing Young Designer Talent: Sarah Mower
Posthumous Special Recognition Award: Joe Casely-Hayford
Cultural Innovator Award: Sam Smith
Trailblazer Award: Edward Enninful
The Pandora Leader of Change Award: Michaela Coel
Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator: Campbell Addy
British Womenswear Designer Award: Maximilian Davis for Ferragamo
British Menswear Designer Award: Martine Rose for Martine Rose
BFC Foundation Designer Award: Conner Ives
New Establishment Womenswear Award: Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena for Chopova Lowena
Model of the Year Award: Paloma Elsesser
Special Recognition Award: Sarah Burton