Guests at the 2019 Fashion Awards didn’t let London’s arctic temperatures deter them from delivering bold choices on the red carpet. The event celebrated the best in fashion this year, with celebrities, models and style icons showcasing strong sartorial looks by nominated designers, from the UK and beyond.
And within the first few minutes of her speech, Ellis Ross had turned her attention to all things quintessentially British: Brexit, Marks & Spencer, fish and chips, and — of course — Harry Styles.
Tracee Ellis Ross arrives at London’s Royal Albert Hall for the 2019 Fashion Awards. Credit: Daniele Venturelli/WireImage/Getty Images
Quinn, who also dressed model Iris Law and Italian fashion editor Giovanna Battaglia in his Spring/Summer ’20 runway collection, was nominated for this year’s British Womenswear Designer of the Year. But he lost out to Daniel Lee of Bottega Veneta, who was undoubtedly the star designer of the night.
He won in four major categories, including the coveted Designer of the Year, beating out veterans like Miuccia Prada and Jonathan Anderson of JW Anderson and Loewe. Lee’s work at Bottega Veneta also helped the Italian label — which he has helmed since 2018 — win a number of other awards, including Brand of the Year.
Music was woven into the night, with a number of stars taking to the stage to perform, including Boy George, Eric Clapton and British rapper Little Simz. Australian pop star Kylie Minogue presented an award, before Janet Jackson — wearing an all-black ensemble by Stella McCartney — surprised the room by naming Rihanna’s brand Fenty as winner of the Urban Luxe award.
Janet Jackson on stage wearing Stella McCartney. Credit: Lia Toby/BFC/Getty Images
Rihanna, dressed in a mint green Fenty minidress with a voluminous tulle jacket, used the spotlight to thank Bernard Arnault, the French business magnate behind the LVMH conglomerate that backs Fenty.
“Thank you for believing in me as a young black woman and my talent,” she said, accepting the award. “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to prove what I love to do.”
“People who see representation or validation in the work that I do — this is for them. If there wasn’t any inclusivity, I wouldn’t be here,” she added.
Adut Akech wore a green Valentino gown. Credit: Daniele Venturelli/WireImage/Getty Images
Akech has often cited Naomi Campbell as one of her inspirations, and the British supermodel was herself recognized on Monday evening with the Fashion Icon award. Campbell, who has broken down barriers in the industry for over three decades, gave an emotional speech thanking her mother who raised her as a single parent.
“You raised me single-handedly, you were my mother and my father,” said Campbell, wearing a floor-length Alexander McQueen gown with intricate crystal detailing.
The supermodel then presented Sarah Burton, creative director of Alexander McQueen, with the Trailblazer Award. Burton, who worked with McQueen before his death in 2010, and famously dressed Kate Middleton for her wedding to Prince William a year later, was honored for continuing the craft, narrative and heritage prized by the brand’s late founder.
Elsewhere, hair stylist Sam McKnight was named the recipient of the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator. McKnight was a favorite of Princess Diana and has worked with major brands including Chanel, Balmain and Tom Ford.
“It’s amazing to have a light shine on us teams of people backstage because it’s usually very front-of-house,” he told CNN following the announcement. “It’s the first time a ‘hair person’ has won this, so it’s really quite amazing.”
Naomi Campbell arrives at awards ahead of being honored as this year’s Fashion Icon. Credit: Daniele Venturelli/WireImage/Getty Images
Other winners on the night included Christopher Kane, who was given the inaugural Designers’ Designer Award, and Rejina Pyo and Bethany Williams, who won Emerging Talent awards for womenswear and menswear respectively.
Legendary Italian designer Giorgio Armani, was honored with the Outstanding Achievement award — and he brought some of his famous friends along to celebrate the occasion. Actress Julia Roberts walked the red carpet with the designer before the ceremony began, wearing a black crystal-studded black jumpsuit.
And while it was a night of big wins, there was also a huge loss to acknowledge. Anna Wintour and Amanda Harlech used the ceremony to honor their friend, the late Karl Lagerfeld, who passed away at the beginning of the year.
“No designer had more esoteric references,” Wintour said of a man renowned for incorporating everything from literature and architecture to technology and pop culture into his collections. “He was a renaissance man.”