For managing to keep a secret as huge as designing a Duchess’ wedding dress under wraps for months, British designer Clare Waight Keller most definitely deserved a prize. The designer, who is currently at the helm of Parisian luxury house Givenchy, was named as The 2018 Fashion Awards British Designer of the Year Womenswear, an award presented to her by actress Rosamund Pike, and the Duchess of Sussex herself, who made a surprise appearance for the special occasion.
Some 4,000 guests descended upon the Royal Albert Hall for the ceremony, which saw Waight Keller, who bagged the fashion commission of the year designing the Duchess of Sussex’ bateau-necked wedding gown for her ceremony back in May, receive her award.
It’s notable that she wasn’t the only designer that took home an award complete with a royal seal of approval. British designer Richard Quinn won the Emerging Talent Womenswear accolade, presented to him by Karen Elson and Michael Healy. You may remember Quinn hosted a surprise special guest of honour at his AW18 show back in February: the Queen, no less, sat front row atop a plush blue cushion as she took in Quinn’s bright autumn/winter collection, after making her way around the designers’ showrooms at 180 The Strand.
Alongside them, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli was awarded Designer of the Year, while Miuccia Prada was presented with an Outstanding Achievement award.
The category that always sets social media alight is Model of The Year, with the accolade aiming to celebrate the ‘global impact of a model, who over the last 12 months has dominated the industry, with an influence that transcends the catwalk,’ according to the British Fashion Council. The award was scooped up by Kaia Gerber who, in her debut season this time last year, secured a plethora of major bookings, and since, there has been no sign of her schedule easing up. The fact that the young model also has over four million Instagram followers will no doubt have been taken into account.
17 year old Gerber beat stiff competition in her category to come up trumps. She was accompanied by Adwoa Aboah who won the award last year and had made appearances on a tonne of shows in her winning year. As well as this, the British model was making a waves with her charity and campaign work for mental health issues, and with her own incredible online side hustle, Gurls Talk, a digital community for young women. Adut Akech, a model raised in a Kenyan refugee camp, was also a finalist for the award alongside Bella Hadid. Gerber, who was a finalist last year, ultimately won however and British singer, Rita Ora who wore a printed coord and Mary Jane heels presented her the award.
The glamorous evening celebrated 15 awards, with a host of stars in attendance. Neelam Gill, Alek Wek and Winnie Harlow were among the models in attendance, and were joined on the red carpet by the likes of Naomi Watts, Poppy Delevingne and David and Victoria Beckham, who arrived hand in hand.
Demna Gvasalia beat both Alessandro Michele at Gucci and Jonathan Anderson at Loewe to win Accessories Designer of the Year for his work at Balenciaga. Gucci’s neverending reign wasn’t unnoticed however, and the label was awarded Brand of the Year, presented by singer Lana Del Rey.
Alexa Chung and Penelope Cruz at the 2018 Fashion Awards
Jerry Hall presented Dame Vivienne Westwood with the Swarovski Award for Positive Change, an award which celebrates ‘individuals who have made a positive impact on society, the environment or both, and forms part of Swarovski’s efforts to promote a more sustainable future for us all.’ The outspoken Westwood has long been a campaigner for climate change awareness, British civil rights and PETA among others.
The celebrations continue following the show, with Fat Tony set to DJ, following a finale performance by Ellie Goulding singing an Aretha Franklin rendition and a dedicated tribute to Judy Blame and Michael Howells by Boy George.
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