Virgil Abloh’s spirit comes alive at the 2021 Fashion Awards – WWD

LONDON – The Night Belongs Virgil Abloh.

The late designer – someone’s sudden death was announced just 24 hours before the London Fashion Awards are set to take place – all people think about on Monday night at the Royal Albert Hall.

There is a surge of love and emotion for the man who rocked the fashion system and opened doors to so many underserved communities.

Before the event officially began, Idris Elba took to the stage to pay his respects to Abloh.

“I lost a friend, my wife lost a husband, the fashion industry lost a legend and the world lost a special person,” said Elba, who is surrounded by screens bearing images of Abloh, who died Sunday after a long private battle with cancer.

“He is one of the few people I can talk to [with] about multitasking. But he doesn’t do it for fame or money, he does it to inspire others,” said the actor who later read Maya Angelou’s poem “When Great Trees Fall”.

“Everyone who knows Virgil knows he wants us to have a good time. Tonight’s entire program is dedicated to Virgil Ablohof life,” he added.

Abloh, a first-rate talent and change-maker, has left at a time when change is a priority in the traditionally change-averse fashion space.

Beyond Abloh’s departure, more bad news looms: The emergence of another COVID-19 variant has led to tightening measures in the UK for at least another three weeks.

However, the British Fashion Council Fundraising show continues – at least for guests who can provide proof of double vaccinations or a negative COVID-19 test.

Attendees certainly took the opportunity to dress up in ’20s style – and support British talent. Dua Lipa wore a tight, black numbered shirt by Maximilian, while Kosar Ali, Addison Rae, Ella Balinska and Billy Porter all wore extravagant Richard Quinn creations.

Quinn really stole the spotlight both on the red carpet and on the stage where Kylie Mynogue and her army of dancers performed in his signature floral linens.

Acknowledging the changing landscape, the British Fashion Council is focused on rewarding 15 changemakers across the creative, environment and people categories – a new format introduced during last year’s video ceremony aimed at making highlight a broader group of individuals rather than focusing on metamodels.

“These are leaders who inspire us to do things differently,” said Porter, the evening presenter, who took to the stage with big jumps and Brexit-ready jokes. .

However, the creative category is still concentrated by longtime players. Abloh has been recognized for his work at Off-White and Louis Vuitton Men’s alongside Dior’s. Kim Jones, Alessandro Michele of Gucci, Demna Gvasalia of Balenciaga and Jonathan Anderson of Loewe.

“These recognitions keep me and my colleagues motivated. Part of my design practice is to open doors for future generations,” Abloh said in a pre-recorded message to the event.

In the environmental category, which recognizes the sustainable efforts of designers, the likes of Stella McCartney, Gabriela Hearst, Priya Ahluwalia, Phoebe English and Bethany Williams were honored.

There is also a “People” category that awards ads whose work has helped create a more inclusive space for the industry. British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, Samuel Ross of A-Cold-Wall, Harris Reed, Telfar Clemens and Grazia UK deputy editor Kenya Hunt were all winners.

Many of the names on this year’s list of winners – including Jones, Anderson and McCartney – are repeats of last year’s list, which raises the question of whether the industry will return to the old ways of being centralized. focus on a small group of people or not.

Hunt’s involvement seems like a welcome addition: she’s been at the forefront of Grazia UK fashion for over two years and also recently published the book “Girl”, which tells compelling stories. back to the time of black women.

“I don’t take the roles I’ve been given lightly. If you have power, you need to empower others,” Hunt said.

Reed, everyone is the first winner, talking about the importance of operating out of the system.

“We need to realize that structures need to be further subdivided. According to the books of this system, I shouldn’t even be in business, but I’m profiting without a wholesale warehouse,” said the designer, who chose to display outside of the traditional BFC schedule and focus on haute couture is more limited than a business model – something he plans to continue to do in 2022. “We need f-king books that teach you how to run your business and give these people see that you can do it your own way.”

And what about awards ceremonies in general?

“These celebrity events are a great way to bring everyone together globally, while also reflecting the great achievements and hard work that has been done in the industry – but without a doubt What’s more, we need to diversify the people who are invited to these events and the recipients of these awards,” says stylist Zadrian Smith, who with collaborator Sara Edmiston was behind the Richard Quinn look by Ali and Gucci by Paul Mescal. They also dressed Lady Amelia Windsor, Arlissa and Sinead Harnett in London-based couture label Sabina Bilenko.

Kim Jones was named designer of the year for his work at Dior Men and Fendi, a timely recognition achieved by the designer’s return to his hometown to present his resort collection for Dior Men next week.

Jones goes up against Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons, Anderson, Gvasalia and former Bottega Veneta creative director Daniel Lee.

The last time the event took place in 2019, Lee set a new record with four major prizes. But the difference two years can make: Lee split the Kering brand earlier this month because of “conflicts” with some employees, by source, and there was no mention of the British-born designer during the ceremony, nor was there a single sight of Bottega Veneta on the red carpet.

Simone Rocha, whose label turns 10 years old this year, has also received the UK Independent Designer Award, while Nensi Dojaka won the BFC Foundation Award for Emerging Talent.

This is one of many big wins for Dojaka this year, who was also noticed when she was named the winner. LVMH . Award in September: she hosts her debut show during London Fashion Week, collaborated with number 21 by Alessandro Dell’Acqua and saw her signature cutout dresses go viral.

This industry tends to hunt young talent as soon as they are considered “hot”. So, while well-deserved, the numerous accolades and massive press attention also led to the question of whether this creates too much pressure and too much expectation for a young design student. graduate still active in a two-person team or not.

“This is probably the hardest thing I’ve done,” emotional Dojaka expressed gratitude to all those who have supported her.

As reported, the Isabella Blow Award went to the stylist and Editor-in-Chief Ibrahim Kamara was shocked, whose global perspective and rich visual storytelling have been making waves in the industry.

Kamara, who was championed by Abloh and collaborated closely with him on Louis Vuitton campaigns and shows, took the prize to his team and Abloh.

“You will always be one of those one-of-a-kind, so pure, so unique. Your mind, very inspiring to witness. Thank you for inspiring black kids around the world,” Kamara said in a prepared statement read into the night.

He also asked attendees to petition the government to invest more in the arts and “immigrants.”

Other industry heavyweights recognized during the evening included Tommy Hilfiger, who received an outstanding achievement award, following in the footsteps of Giorgio Armani and Miuccia Prada.

“Tommy is in London and at the same time they are casting a new James Bond. A surprising situation? I think not,” Porter joked.

There’s also a special tribute to Chanel for its cultural fund, while Michele received the frontrunner award – and lives up to the title by appearing on the Roblox gaming platform as a figurehead. represented to present the award to digital studio CSapphire, who won the ceremony’s new metaverse design award.

Sinead Burke, who presented the award to Michele, praised his “quiet but confident leadership” and his ability to create a space where people can feel safe, be it with his Gucci Vault initiative; commit to supporting the disabled community, or openly criticize Italian government policy on gay and transgender rights.

“Becoming a changer is going beyond yourself [because] There are still too many people who feel excluded, who aren’t here tonight because they feel like they don’t belong,” Burke added.

See more:

Get acquainted with this year’s fashion award nominees

The most memorable moments from the fashion awards ceremony

Notable Fashion Award Winners Throughout the Years Virgil Abloh’s spirit comes alive at the 2021 Fashion Awards – WWD


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