Last night, on a chilly winter evening in London, every pair of VIP high heels and sequins, along with men in tuxedos, headed to the Royal Albert Hall as the British Fashion Council invited a mix of 4,000 guests in their best attire to celebrate the annual Fashion Awards.
But to be inside, you had to earn your place. (Cue the Mission Impossible theme song.) The well-heeled had to first navigate an obstacle course, wiggling and shuffling in long dresses from their taxis through a no-car-access street, over the cobblestones, and up the red carpet—a sweeping staircase that was all photographers and flashbulbs with no banisters. The esteemed writer Colin McDowell was the first notable sighting of the night, and made an unwitting diversion while I, in a new pair of Manolos and a Galliano slip, jumped over the barrier rather than walking back the twisting length of the red carpet, even though this meant I missed my chance to see Miss Piggy, who was hosting the red carpet coverage for the evening’s sponsor, Swarovski.
The inside of the ceremony was bathed in glowing red. A catwalk stretched up the length of the auditorium with tables nestled on either side. Dame Natalie Massenet did the rounds, greeting everyone; Donatella Versace sat with a tartan-clad Lewis Hamilton on one side and Central Saint Martins MA course director Fabio Piras chatted to Julien Macdonald on another; Raf Simons, who took home the coveted International Designer of the Year Award, came over to introduce himself to John Galliano; Kaia Gerber sat shyly, taking it all in with Stella Maxwell at Edward Enninful’s table; and British Vogue cover girl Adwoa Aboah, who won Model of the Year, exuded Christmas-tree joy as she shimmied happily around in a blur of Michael Halpern sequins and a Stephen Jones turban. Meanwhile, the milliner himself talked to her parents, Camilla Lowther and Charles Aboah. There was so much to air-kiss that no one wanted to take their seats for dinner, but as the tiers and boxes filled, the event began, hosted once again by the British actor Jack Whitehall, only this year he was joined by platinum blonde Karlie-36-Vogue-covers-Kloss, who had an outfit change for every designer.