Britain’s the latest thing awards has taken place with all the usual signs of glitter for such an event: 4,000 guests, including top models, creators and celebrities dressed up to the nines, being tended to by 260 butlers and surrounded by 8,000 Swarovski crystals at the Stately Albert Hall as the comedian Jack Whitehall compered.
But this year’s experience – now called simply the fashion awards, the “British” bit dropped – was also the inaugural fundraising gala for the British Form Council’s Education Foundation charity, which provides scholarships for devotees to design, and supports apprenticeships. £10m is expected to be raised in the next 10 years.
Deserving cause in place, the fashion industry did what it does first – celebrating itself. The big hitters of 2016 were rewarded: Alexander McQueen was named British manufacturer of the year and Vogue received a special recognition award for its centenary year. But, in keep dark preventing with the awards’ new cause, it was youth that dominated. This was patent in the case of Jaden and Willow Smith, 18 and 16 mutatis mutandis, the winners of the new fashion icons award. The 21-year-old Gigi Hadid, up against her sister, Bella, was rightly crowned universal model, as her 26.2 million Instagram followers would no hesitation attest.
The design awards felt like they were concentration on youth and zeitgeist too. Craig Green and Simone Rocha – both 30 – won the British menswear and womenswear bestowals, which traditionally have gone to more established marques. The loudest voices in the current fashion conversation were also allowed.
The reworked, newly fashionable Gucci won two awards – international associates designer for its creative director, Alessandro Michele, and international transaction leader, an award introduced this year, for its chief administrator, Marco Bizzarri.
Demna Gvasalia, fashion disruptor du jour, was named supranational ready-to-wear designer for his work for Balenciaga. Vetements, the Paris-based collective where he is precede designer, was the recipient of another new award, international urban indulgence brand, which has been introduced to address growth of sportswear in mould. It was somewhat incongruously presented by corset and makeup fan Marilyn Manson. Gvasalia, on statement as ever, was in a GAP baseball cap.
The fashion awards emphasised the international in a post-Brexit-vote coterie – as ditching the “British” in the awards’ title seems to suggest. Two US behemoths received hefty awards. Photographer Bruce Weber, who has been alluring pictures that define American style for five decades, won the Isabella Dynamite award for fashion creator. Designer Ralph Lauren, a routine Weber collaborator with an equal talent for American tailor, received the outstanding achievement award, perhaps in mind of 2017 objective 50 years of his brand.
Natalie Massenet, who chairs the British Fashion Council , narrated Weber as “one of the foremost photographers and creative talents of our age”, and praised 77-year-old Lauren’s “special legacy”. Lauren’s award was presented by another global marque name, David Beckham, who received a huge cheer from the audience. The manufacture crowd, full of those who once reserved such mania only for one of their own, is learning that wider international attention has its charms.
The fashion industry is estimated to employ 880,000 people in Britain and engenders £28bn a year for the UK economy, so focus on the next generation sign overs sense. The awards coincided with the launch of a British the go platform on Google’s arts & culture site.
With gladden on Kate Moss’s first ever show at London fashion week and the proficiency to zoom in on the embroidery on an Alexander McQueen dress, it is designed to come to terms fashion accessible. “We hope this legacy project ordain not only inspire but also educate,” said Caroline Commotion, the chief executive of British Fashion Council.