LAUGH IN: Much vodka — and thankfully no tears — were spilled at the annual British Fashion Awards on Monday night in London where Patsy and Edina from “Absolutely Fabulous” showed up, and even Lady Gaga – and Anna Wintour — cracked the odd joke.
“In my next life I’d like to come back as Choupette,” said Wintour, referring to Karl Lagerfeld’s cat that lives a diva’s life. Later that evening, Choupette returned the compliment, Tweeting that she’d like to return as Wintour, and pointing out that she has nine lives.
Lagerfeld scooped the Outstanding Achievement Award, which he accepted from Wintour, who in her speech recalled him tango-ing with the late Oscar de la Renta and “reading the way most of us breathe.”
Monday’s event unfolded at the Coliseum in Covent Garden. Halfway through the evening Alison Moyet sang “Only You” while models from 30 British labels, including Astrid Andersen, Burberry, Christopher Kane, Erdem, Molly Goddard, Paul Smith, Sibling, Topshop Unique and Victoria Beckham, paraded on stage.
Guests included David and Victoria Beckham, Georgia May Jagger, Karlie Kloss, Kate Bosworth, Kate Moss, Liv Tyler, Nadja Swarovski, Poppy Delevingne, Salma Hayek Pinault, Samantha Cameron, Sir Philip Green, Stella Tennant and Tinie Tempah, as well as a host of industry figures such as Joan and Simon Burstein, Silvia Fendi, Carlo Capasa, Marco Bizzarri, James McArthur and Bruno Pavlovsky.
Lagerfeld wasn’t the only one getting an onstage plug: The evening’s host was British actor and comedian Jack Whitehall. “Where the f— is Christopher Bailey’s knighthood? Sam Cam, have a word, please,” he said, referring to Britain’s first lady, Samantha Cameron.
And while no one is calling him Sir Christopher just yet, Bailey did have his moment onstage, picking up Burberry’s award for creative campaign of the year.
Actresses Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, reprising their Ab Fab roles — in typical outlandish dress — handed Stella McCartney her prize for brand of the year. Saunders, whose outfit made her look like the Dutch painter Rembrandt, referred to eco-driven McCartney as “the woman who makes bags out of the pubic hair of wheatgrass.”
Thomas Tait thanked everyone “who didn’t confuse me tonight with a waiter — or with Gareth Pugh,” after he accepted the award for Emerging Women’s Wear designer, while Lady Gaga admitted she was doing a big favor for Tom Ford: “Tom sent me to do his dirty work — I suppose he’s very busy today,” she said as she accepted the Red Carpet prize.
Olivier Rousteing toted a selfie stick onstage as he prepared to congratulate Jourdan Dunn on her accolade as Model of the Year. He was planning on sending the picture to his mother. “I have to suck in my cheeks right now — it’s not every night you can take a selfie while giving an award,” he said.
The mood was already jolly before the ceremony kicked off, with Swarovski — whose family company was the evening’s headline sponsor — poking fun at her long, red off-the-shoulder gown. “It’s McQueen — from June. Does that make it vintage? I just don’t have time to shop,” she said.
Natalie Massenet, who helped to organize the evening as chairman of the British Fashion Council, remained tight-lipped about her next professional move after leaving Net-a-porter.com in September. “It might not be in the fashion space. I’m also a tech entrepreneur, and I’m used to working with start-ups,” she said.
Others talked about their future plans: Giles Deacon revealed he is headed to Shanghai on the day after Christmas. “We’re going for the ‘Star Wars’ premiere,” said the designer, whose partner Gwendoline Christie plays Captain Phasma in “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.” Christie took home the British Style, Red Carpet Ambassador prize on Monday night.
The evening took a more sober turn, however, as winners reflected on their history and abiding inspirations.
After accepting his second award, Jonathan Anderson — who was named Men’s Wear and the Women’s Wear designer of the year — paid tribute to Lagerfeld, whom he called his biggest hero.
“He makes me believe anything is possible,” said the designer, who also paid tribute to “the designers past, present and future who continue to be an inspiration to me.”
On the sidelines of the event, Lagerfeld admitted: “I’m not that ambitious. I did what I wanted (in life). As my mother used say: ‘It’s OK, what you do, but you could have done better.’ She thought that I didn’t use myself really 100 percent. I always think that I’m lazy, that I could be better, that the next production could be better.
“My mother was not too crazy for the job. In those days, the job was not exactly what it is today — it was another world. She wanted me to be a diplomat. I hope that, in the end, she would be a little proud.”
Lagerfeld, who was dressed in a shiny black and blue Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent jacket, and his signature tall white collar, said he was quite surprised — and flattered — when he heard he’d won.
“I never had the feeling that London paid much attention to what I was doing,” he said, adding that his biggest cross-Channel inspiration has always been English girls. “One of the great inspirations in my work are English women — English men, I don’t know too well,” he added.