If you merged the Met Gala with the Oscars, the result would be last night’s Fashion Awards. One of the starriest events in London’s calendar, it saw the greats of the fashion industry descend upon the Royal Albert Hall to honour the creators, innovators and designers who not only shape the way that we dress, but the way that we think about clothes and culture too. Hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall, it was an eventful evening. Gigi Hadid, sporting a shimmering, one-shouldered Versace jumpsuit, unsurprisingly beat both best friend Kendall Jenner and sister Bella Hadid, and was crowned Model of the Year. Jaden Smith, wearing a striped Gucci suit and gleaming silver grill, was voted this year’s Fashion Icon alongside his sister Willow, whilst Alexander McQueen, the Duchess of Cambridge’s brand of choice, was deemed best British brand. Perhaps the most coveted category of the evening was the Emerging Talent award. Given to designer Molly Goddard, who dressed supermodel Adwoa Adoah for the evening in an apple-green gown, the entire long-list was formidably strong, showcasing the next generation of design stars sure to dominate London’s fashion landscape for years to come. Scroll down to read more about the six talents who were nominated.
Over at the Now Gallery in Greenwich, a series of super-sized dresses, seven metres in length, are suspended from the ceiling. Positioned near to the huge, effervescent frocks are a collection of fat needles and large spools of thread. The mastermind behind the exhibition is designer Molly Goddard, who wants visitors to embroider the hanging skirts so that, eventually, they are cross-stitched with a random array of pictures and patterns. This focus on craft and collaboration is central to her label, known for its hand-made, riotous pieces, and its ability to riff on, and rough-up, a saccharine sense of girlishness. “I appreciate when things are beautiful and pretty,” she explains. “But I also like the fine line between things being so over the top that they become ugly and grotesque.” Her aesthetic has already earned plenty of admirers. Rihanna is a fan, and so is Björk. Agyness Deyn even commissioned Goddard to make her wedding dress. Goddard is inspired by magazines, art books and passers-by on the street. But her most formative influence has been her childhood, when her Mother dressed her in smocked dressed, baggy T-shirts and tiny, stout boots. “I was always a bit tongue in cheek,” she offers. “Even as a baby.” Molly Goddard; @mollymoddard
A few years ago, the French born designer Faustine Steinmetz decided to buy an old loom on a whim. After months spent watching grainy YouTube tutorials and pouring over old books bought on Amazon, she taught herself to weave. Now considered one of London’s fastest rising design stars, weaving is the cornerstone of her label. Her days are spent in her East London studio, spinning fabrics and then stitching them into idiosyncratic renderings of everyday pieces–she might deconstruct a conventional silhouette, or fit her clothes with sculptural twists of fabric or tight, Issey Miyake-style pleats. Steinmetz’s signature, however, is her deft ability to re-interpret denim, updating the ubiquitous material by way of digital printing practices, graphically stitched motifs and crude scatterings of Swarovski crystals. Faustine Steinmetz; @faustinesteinmetz
Before she was a fashion designer, the Italian-born, London-raised Alessandra Rich worked in real estate. Her move from selling condos to clothes was a smart one. The hallmark of her eponymously named brand is evening-wear, and she has garnered herself a legion of admirers drawn to her exquisite, ground-grazing lace gowns, replete with romantic ruffling, sheaths of lace and transparent, ornately stitched chiffons. Diane Kruger is a returning customer and Samantha Cameron once wore one of her dresses to dinner at the Obama White House, opting for a midnight blue design, speckled with crystals and finished with the flourish of a black bow at the neck. Alessandra Rich; @alessandrarich
What came first: the club or the clothes? Did 70s lurex and glittering lame precede Studio 54? Was the Judy-Blame style penchant for subversion and safety pins born in the backrooms of Cha Cha, Heaven and Blitz? For the Scottish menswear designer Charles Jeffrey, the question is imperative to understanding his brand. His work straddles the intersection between fashion and nightlife, and he understands only too well that an alliance of the two can come to define an era. It was this thinking that led him to set up a club night in Dalston as a student, using the creative types it attracted as inspiration for his label, Loverboy. It is no surprise, then, that given its origins in the depths of a dark East London basement, his style is known for a daring play on drama. His latest collection, referencing historic tropes, features sharp tailoring and scalloped shorts, full-skirted coats and crisp military shapes. Charles Jeffrey; @_charlesjeffrey
Two years ago, when Jennifer Lopez was a judge on American Idol, she took to the Panelists Table wearing a monochrome, asymmetrically-hemmed minidress by the then little-known British label, Self Portrait. It’s value? A reasonable £300. Over the following months, celebrities around the world followed suit, eschewing their customary couture gowns in favour of Self Portrait cocktail dresses, distinctive for their primly scalloped necklines, delicate spaghetti-thin straps and billowing textured skirts, complimented by an expertly nipped-in waist. The mastermind behind the trend was St. Martins graduate Han Chong, whose lace-fuelled formula has succeeded where may others have failed, fluently bridging the chasm between high street and designer. The risk Chong faced, however, was that once his dresses became ubiquitous, the couture would come back out, and his wider base of customers would move on. But, adding a series of sharply-cut trousers, cropped bomber jackets, and even a bridal collection to his repertoire, he has proved that, as a designer, he is equipped with the energy to keep innovating. Self Portrait; @mrselfportrait —Isobel Thompson
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Credits: Lily Bertrand Webb