- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
The Duchess of Sussex was the surprise guest at The Fashion Awards 2018, shining a light on British talent globally, to present the designer of her wedding dress, Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy, with the coveted British Womenswear Designer of the Year award.
Wearing a black Givenchy gown, the Duchess cradled her pregnancy bump as she appeared on-stage at the Royal Albert Hall to present her friend with the accolade. In a short statement, the British Fashion Council said that Meghan attended the awards to “show her support for the British fashion industry”, and that Waight Keller was decided the winner by a panel of over 2,000 industry experts internationally for her “formidable contribution” to British fashion.
The evening celebrated fifteen awards, 10 of which were voted for by the global panel, and included two awards for Gucci, with the Italian fashion house scooping Brand of the Year, as well as the Business Leader accolade presented to Marco Bizzarri, president and chief executive of the designer label.
While the night was to highlight British talent, there were a lot of Italian labels on the winners roster, with Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino being named Designer of the Year, while Miuccia Prada was presented with the Outstanding Achievement award.
Other international winners included Virgil Abloh for Off-White winning the Urban Luxe award, while Accessories Designer of the Year was presented to Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga, and the Special Recognition Award for Innovation was given to Parley for the Oceans.
Clare Waight Keller and Craig Green win at The Fashion Awards 2018
There was still a lot of British success with Craig Green awarded with the British Designer of the Year Menswear honour, and British designer Kim Jones, currently the menswear artistic director of Dior, was awarded with the inaugural Trailbrazer accolade for “his reputation for challenging the norms whilst respecting heritage, history, creativity and innovation”.
Emerging talent was also placed in the spotlight with Richard Quinn, who won the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design earlier this year, adding British Emerging Talent Womenswear to his honours, while Samuel Ross for A-Cold-Wall* was named British Emerging Talent Menswear of the Year.
There was also special recognition for Dame Vivienne Westwood. The iconic British designer was presented with the Swarovski Award for Positive Change for her promotion of humanitarian and environmental issues through both her eponymous label and her campaigning for charities for Cool Earth, Amnesty International, War Child, Friends of the Earth and the Environmental Justice Foundation.
The final two accolades were awarded to photography duo, Mert and Marcus who were presented the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator and Kaia Gerber won Model of the Year.
The annual The Fashion Awards is the main fundraiser for the British Fashion Council, a not for profit organisation focused on promoting excellence in British fashion and supporting the future pipeline of creative talent. In 2017, the British Fashion Council raised over 2.2 million pounds for its charities and business support initiatives and in the twelve months to March 2018 has allocated a further 1.1 million pounds in grants to designer businesses to support these efforts.
Images: courtesy of the BFC, by Mike Marsland/Getty Images, Joe Maher/BFC