Clare Waight Keller, artistic director of Givenchy, has topped off what has already been an impressive year by winning the British designer of the year womenswear award at the 2018 Fashion Awards. The designer was presented with her award on Monday evening by the Duchess of Sussex, who made a surprise appearance at the star-studded ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall, hosted by model Alek Wek and comedian Jack Whitehall. Kate Moss, Edie Campbell, Riz Ahmed, Rita Ora and Brooke Shields were also in attendance.
Waight Keller, who in 2017 became the first woman to lead the house of Givenchy, was entrusted with creating the duchess’s wedding dress in May. Meanwhile Givenchy recently opened a new flagship store on Old Bond Street.
The designer had stiff competition for the award from Victoria Beckham, who celebrated 10 years since launching her eponymous label this year. Women were widely recognised for their contribution to the fashion industry at this year’s awards, with Dame Vivienne Westwood, Miuccia Prada and Kaia Gerber all taking home Swarovski crystal trophies designed by the Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye.
Model Jerry Hall presented the Swarovski award for positive change to Westwood in recognition of her campaigning on humanitarian and environmental issues. Last year, the designer launched the Switch to Green campaign, asking for fashion brands and businesses to switch to a green energy supplier by 2020. She has also dedicated several of her shows to raising awareness of environmental initiatives, is an ambassador for Greenpeace and, in 2013, designed the official Save the Arctic logo.
Miuccia Prada, who has held the position of lead creative director of the Italian fashion brand Prada for 40 years, was the recipient of the outstanding achievement award, which was presented by actor Uma Thurman and director Steve McQueen.
The designer of the year award, for which Waight Keller had also been nominated, went to Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino, who regularly dresses A-list stars for the red carpet.
Fashion insiders will have been unsurprised to see Kim Jones, creative director at Dior Homme, honoured with the British Fashion Council’s inaugural trailblazer award, presented by actor Robert Pattinson. Jones showed his first collection for Dior just six months ago, but he has already made a considerable impact on the fashion house and was last month responsible for Dior’s first menswear foray outside of Paris with a show in Tokyo.
Gucci also triumphed at the ceremony, with the business leader award going to its president and chief executive, Marco Bizzarri. The Italian fashion label saw sales soar 44.6% to £5.5bn last year, and also won brand of the year, with an award presented by Lana Del Rey.
Fashion photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott were awarded the Isabella Blow award for fashion creator, which was presented by Kate Moss and Penélope Cruz.
This was the first Fashion Awards to have been overseen by the British Fashion Council’s new chair, Stephanie Phair, who also holds the position of chief strategy officer at fashion website Farfetch. Phair took over from Dame Natalie Massenet, who had chaired the BFC since 2013, in May.
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