London party

At the Fashion Awards in London, Mourning and celebration

It was freezing cold in London on the night of the Fashion Awards, Britain’s most glitzy annual style event, and on the red carpet, model Jourdan Dunn snuggled up to makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury to warm up. “Have you seen Maria Sharapova,” barked a producer, clipboard in hand. “Where’s Sharapova?” ”

She arrived moments later in a dress created from recycled water bottles, a collaboration between Iris van Herpen and Evian.

Inside, Rick Owens, slender in black, posed with model Adriana Lima, in plunging white. Tommy Hilfiger, who was there to receive the award of excellence, sat next to Kris Jenner, wrapped in a satin shawl in the red, navy and white colors of Mr. Hilfiger’s brand logo.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, in Boss costume, sat between Anna Wintour and Edward Enninful, editor-in-chief of British Vogue and European editorial director of Condé Nast. “Oh my God, it’s John! Said designer Henry Holland, pointing to John Galliano, to Ms. Wintour’s right. Next to Mr. Enninful was musician Dua Lipa, dressed in dark black.

“I love Dua Lipa. She’s the best Londoner – don’t tell Adele, ”Mr Khan said,“ ‘Future Nostalgia’ got me through the pandemic. He was feeling lively. “It shows London is back,” he said, pointing to the crowd in sequins, ruffles and tuxedos.

The jubilation has an air of frenzy; the mood of a last party, a final eruption, with a frightening mania beneath the pleasure. A reflection both on the emergence of the variant of the Omicron coronavirus and the possibility of another confinement, and on the news, received the day before the event, that the cartoonist Virgil Abloh had died at 41 years old. He was a lingering presence in the room, with nearly all of the winners honoring him.

“Virgil told me he didn’t go a day in high school without wearing my clothes,” Tommy Hilfiger said in his speech, right after a mini fashion show of models, who lip-synced and strutted on hits like “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones and “OPP” by Naughty by Nature

Actor Idris Elba read Maya Angelou’s poem “When the Big Trees Fall” in honor of Mr. Abloh. Mr. Enninful later read a quote from the designer from a manifesto released during Mr. Abloh’s Spring 2021 show for Louis Vuitton: “As a black man in a French luxury house, I am well aware of my responsibilities. Rather than preaching about it, I hope to lead by example and open the door to future generations. I believe in leaving my mark with confidence, style and grace. ‘ “

The words provided a rare moment of self-effacement in an evening filled with twisted and turned postures, uniting not only – as you might expect – the greats and the good of the fashion industry, but also characters. often disparate that even the strangest dinner the dream couldn’t summon: actress Demi Moore, walking arm in arm with Olympic diver Tom Daley to present Kim Jones with the Designer of the Year award; footballer Patrice Evra presenting an award to former GQ editor-in-chief Dylan Jones for Culture Commentary; and Kylie Minogue, performing a special rendition of her hit song “Slow” in a bespoke Richard Quinn, surrounded by dancers dressed in flowery coveralls covering their faces (the only participants, other than the waiters, who were masked).

The evening’s host, Billy Porter, used the wit to pierce the emphasis, greeting “the old, young and old who have rejuvenated their faces.” Between several outfit changes he joked: “I really didn’t think I was going to make it, but luckily I got a job as a truck driver and they let me in” – wink UK supply chain problems and the fallout from Brexit, another of fashion’s many headaches.

The once simple and precise award categories (Best Women’s Clothing Designer, Best Men’s Clothing Designer, Best Model) had been broadened to include looser and grander themes, including “The Leaders of Change,” a distinction awarded to 15 industry figures, under three different categories: “Creativity”, “Environment” and “People”.

An absent Alessandro Michele, the creative director of Gucci, was the winner of the Trailblazer Award, presented and accepted on his behalf by activist Sinead Burke, in pink feathers.

“I am physically disabled, I have dwarfism,” she said when she introduced herself, noting that the award was dedicated to those who “touch hearts and minds.” She praised Gucci for its work for LGBTQ rights and the rights of people with disabilities. Mr. Michele, she said, has created a corner of the world “where people feel safe to be themselves”.

Other winners included young Nensi Dojaka, who received the BFC Foundation award, stylist Ib Kamara (also absent), who won the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Designer, and Simone Rocha, who won the award. of the best independent British. Brand and whose label has just celebrated its 10th anniversary. The pandemic has been difficult, she said, especially for those who don’t have a large group behind them and with a small and young team.

“It has humiliated a lot of people at different levels. It humanizes the industry and takes away some of the shine and sparkle, ”she said. “Everyone who shows up, I respect them. All those who managed to continue.

Later, dancer and internet freak Lil Buck walked on the moon and made his way into the Great Hall. Her performance was apparently part of honoring Chanel for her contribution to art and culture. “Chanel: Creating the conditions for artists to dare,” announced the giant screens behind Lil Buck, before being replaced, inexplicably, by a quote often attributed to Mother Teresa.

“I alone can’t change the world, but I can throw a stone across the waters to create a lot of ripples,” it read, though most of the guests seemed mostly focused on the fancy footwork (also the shoes). Even Mrs. Wintour craned her neck to watch the slides and the twists and turns. When Lil Buck was done, she erupted into one of his few cheers of the evening.