LONDON — “Donatella Versace, like it or not, we are family,” said Naomi Campbell, who took center stage — and handed the Italian designer her icon award — at the Fashion Awards on Monday night at Royal Albert Hall.
The Swarovski-sponsored awards were Natalie Massenet’s last as chairman of the British Fashion Council and a big love-in, with laughs, the odd tear — from Anna Wintour, of all people — and gushing tributes.
Double award winner Jonathan Anderson thanked Pierre-Yves Roussel and Delphine Arnault for having “the balls to put me at Loewe,” while the three-star Michelin chef Massimo Bottura heaped praise on his old friend and former classmate Marco Bizzarri, who won the business leader award for the second year in a row.
“Who thought two troublemakers from Modena [Italy] would make it so far?” he said, adding that even when they were kids, Bizzarri was “always the smartest guy in the room.”
Wintour started to cry while paying tribute to her friend Christopher Bailey — who is exiting Burberry next year — before handing him the award for outstanding contribution to British fashion. Versace, meanwhile, accepted her icon award with grace: “I deserve it, of course,” deadpanned the designer.
During the night, Rita Ora performed with a hot gospel backup choir, a string of Eighties models led by Campbell took to the stage to remember the late Azzedine Alaïa, and the event ended with a shower of gold sparkles and men in white T-shirts belting out the Wham! classic “Freedom,” at Massenet’s request.
Earlier in the evening Anderson took home British Designer of the Year for Women’s Wear for his J.W. Anderson collection, and Accessories Designer of the Year for Loewe.
Craig Green was named British Designer of the Year for Men’s Wear for the second year running.
Raf Simons was awarded Designer of the Year for his work at Calvin Klein, while Michael Halpern walked away with British Emerging Talent Women’s Wear prize.
Charles Jeffrey, designer of the Loverboy label, won British Emerging Talent for Men’s Wear. Adwoa Aboah was Model of the Year, while Off-White won the Urban Luxe Award.
Aboah took advantage of her moment on stage to say she’s excited for all the changes to come in 2018, and the justice for victims “of all the sexual assault cases in film. All of us need to work to push out that bad energy. There’s no time for that.”
Stella McCartney won the Special Recognition Award for Innovation. Pat McGrath became the latest winner of the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator, while Maria Grazia Chiuri earned the Swarovski Award for Positive Change.
“I am sure we’re all feminist women and men tonight,” said Bianca Jagger, who swept onto the stage in a long black robe and white dress, as she handed Chiuri her award.
Other starry presenters included Pamela Anderson, Erykah Badu, Annie Lennox and Karlie Kloss.