Salma Hayek, wearing a white tulle dress by Giambattista Valli, attended the event alongside her husband Francois-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Kering, alongside Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, and models Kate Moss, Kristen McMenamy, Adwoa Aboah and Jourdan Dunn.
Other attendees included Stella McCartney, Ozwald Boateng, Idris Elba and his wife Sabrina, “I Will Destroy You” star Michaela Cole, “Loki” actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Riz Ahmed, actor and “Talk Art” host Russell Tovey, Juergen Teller, Laura Bailey and Emma Weymouth, Marchioness of Bath, who arrived together with Enninful in a floor-length green dress by Sabina Bilenko.
Earlier that evening, Enninful was chatting with Cole at the Southbank Center about his book, which entails how a Black, gay and working-class refugee like him became a gatekeeper of one of the world’s most exclusive industries.
At the party, a cohort of Enninful’s close friends, including Condé Nast Britain chief business officer Vanessa Kingori, Hayek, Elba, Aboah and Enninful’s husband Alec Maxwell shared how his success has changed their lives and made the fashion industry more inclusive.
“His visibility is so important to me and so many people that I know.…Never ever have I worked with someone who is so celebratory of women’s strength,” Kingori said.
“Edward truly changed my life, which was on a great track. I was having a great career and we kept having these incidental bump-ins. We started talking and those conversations led to the career collaboration of my life, which has been so much fun,” she added.
Hayek said she and Enninful have shared “so much laughter for so many decades that you cannot begin to imagine because we look amazing for our age.”
“We started out in an era where the fashion industry was very icy. Yet Edward always brought the warmth. It was a time when arrogance and bitchiness regardless of the sex were celebrated. Yet he always brought kindness. And let’s not forget, it was a moment in history where if you were a person of color, or if you had curves, you didn’t necessarily feel welcome.
“But if you saw that ray of sunshine walk in, you felt safe and as you watch his incredible talents at work, you felt actually really hopeful. I think that is the greatest talent anyone can have — his soulfulness,” Hayek said.
She quoted Mexican socialite and fashion icon Gloria Guinness, who famously said, “Elegance it’s in the mind, in the body and in the soul.”
Elba recalled the time when Enninful asked him for advice on the book in a park during the pandemic when the nationwide lockdown only allowed people to leave their homes to exercise once a day.
“We were talking about the book, he was like, ‘How do I do it? What should I do?’ And I was like ‘Edward, you need to just put this in a book, and stop f–king around.’ And I’m so thankful that we had that moment. Because it led on to what we are doing today, which is celebrating one of the most magnanimous men in the world, one of the most beautiful human beings that all of us know,” he said.
Aboah, who fronted the first British Vogue cover under Enninful’s direction, said his visibility means safety to people like her.
“I had all these Vogue magazines that I collected over the years when I was younger, and I was looking through them, and I was like, ‘Why did I ever collect these magazines because I never saw myself in any of these pages?’ And then I got my moment, and you gave me an opportunity to be on something that represented me and all the other women and men that I sat down with and feel part of, and you created an environment and a space that I felt very welcomed.
“For that, I can’t thank you enough because that girl who hated her braids and hated and wanted to wake up the next morning with like long blonde hair and pale skin, has completely changed,” she added.
Maxwell, in comments aimed at Enninful, said he hopes his memoir can help people “understand you a little bit better than what they thought they knew of you.”
“I’m excited to see what the book brings next. Kind of very excited at the possibility of it becoming some kind of movie,” he added.
In response to their kind words, Enninful humbly said he “didn’t just appear and create this magical world.”
“I feel without your energy and your strength, I wouldn’t have been able to do what essentially needed to be done and I really appreciate everyone in this room,” he added.
At the end of the speeches, Enninful was presented with a cake shooting fireworks, decorated with his signature eyewear motif.