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What went down at last night’s British Fashion Awards

Karl Lagerfeld shares the secret of his success and J.W.Anderson lands a double whammy – here’s your guide to the awards ceremony

Last night, the London Coliseum hosted the British fashion industry’s answer to the Oscars: the annual British Fashion Awards. While the event has been running since 1989, it’s been gaining increasing velocity in recent years – as illustrated by the calibre of guests at last night’s awards ceremony. While the models and designers were expected, the flamboyantly-dressed stars of Absolutely Fabulous – Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone, were not. Over 2,000 people gathered to watch the British Fashion Council shower its praises on the world’s finest fashion talents, as selected by 800 members of the industry from around the world. See our round-up of the event’s key moments below:

AB FAB’S EDDIE AND PATSY MADE A SURPRISE APPEARANCE

In what was perhaps the biggest surprise since Derek Zoolander and Hansel hit the runway at Valentino AW15, stars of hit 90s sitcom Absolutely Fabulous Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley) presented Stella McCartney with the Best British Brand award. “It’s someone who’s literally come from nowhere,” said Eddie (somewhat ironically), before announcing the winner. “(Someone) who has been making bags out of the pubic hair of wheatgrass. For years. Years! It’s Stella!” It’s possible that the pair’s appearance at the awards will be included in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie which is due to hit cinemas in May 2016.

J.W.ANDERSON SCOOPS NOT ONE, BUT TWO PRIZES

It was a good night for J.W.Anderson who won multiple plaudits from the British Fashion Council, taking home both Menswear and Womenswear Designer of the Year awards. In his acceptance speech, the Irish designer and creative mastermind behind his own gender-defying label and Spanish leather goods company Loewe paid tribute to Karl Lagerfeld, saying “He makes me believe anything is possible,” as well as “the designers past, present and future who continue to be an inspiration to me”.

LADY GAGA STEPPED IN FOR TOM FORD

While he’s not usually one to shy away from the red carpet, this evening American designer Tom Ford was otherwise engaged. There to step into the breach for him though, was his good friend and star of his SS16 campaign Lady Gaga who received the Red Carpet Award on his behalf. Presenting the award to her was male model of the moment and social media sensation Lucky Blue Smith. “Fashion, for me, is crucial to my existence,” said Gaga on the red carpet, prior to the ceremony. 

KARL LAGERFELD RECEIVES AWARD FROM ANNA WINTOUR AND OFFERS LIFE ADVICE

Working at the helm of Chanel for fifty years and Fendi for thirty years, Lagerfeld’s contribution to fashion is – as the name of his newly-won accolade implies – an outstanding achievement. There to present the Outstanding Achievement award to the designer was American Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. In that moment, two of the fashion industry’s most powerful figures (and recognisable hair-do’s) met. As for the secret to his success, Lagerfeld revealed it in his acceptance speech. “I sleep seven hours a night without waking up – that is the secret of the story. If you don’t sleep well you can’t do anything.” Wintour also revealed a secret, informing the audience that, “"I think in my next life I would like to come back as Choupette (Lagerfeld’s cat)”. Who knew.

JOURDAN DUNN IS CROWNED MODEL OF THE YEAR

With a list of clients that reads like the Who’s Who of the fashion industry, there’s few who can dispute Jourdan Dunn’s modelling credentials. This year she fought off fellow British models Georgia May Jagger and Malaika Firth to win the Model of the Year award. And who better to present her with Swarovski-designed trophy than Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing, who’s not only cast her in the house’s shows (and its AW14 campaign) but frequently cited her as one of his muses? However it’s not the first time the East Londoner has received the accolade, she also won the award in 2008. In fact she referenced this in her acceptance speech, saying, “You’re going to make me cry. What the hell? I won this in 2008 and I was a hot mess. My speech was a hot mess, it was all a mess.”

ALESSANDRO MICHELE DESCRIBES GUCCI OWNER’S DECISION TO APPOINT HIM AS ‘FOOLISH’

Italian designer Alessandro Michele took the helm at Gucci last year and, five lauded collections later, has been toasted as a triumphant success. Upon being presented with the International Designer of the Year award by Tim Blanks and Georgia May Jagger however, Michele was nothing but humble. “(Kering) had the courage and the foolish act to appoint an unknown guy like me as the creative director of one of the most influential fashion houses in the world,” Michele told the crowd. “Over ten thousand thanks,” he added “One for each Gucci employee all over the world.”

“(Kering) had the courage and the foolish act to appoint an unknown guy like me as the creative director of one of the most influential fashion houses in the world” – Alessandro Michele

FKA TWIGS AND GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE SCOOP STYLE AWARDS

With a style that has been referenced by designers from the likes of Givenchy’s creative director Riccardo Tisci to emerging designer Caitlin Price, avant-pop auteur FKA twigs was well-deserving of the British Style – Fashion Innovator award which was presented to her by Dazed’s co-founder Jefferson Hack. Game of Thrones and soon-to-be Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Gwendoline Christie also received a style plaudit which, given her recent cameos in Vivienne Westwood and Iris van Herpen’s shows, came as little surprise.

GRACE WALES BONNER WINS EMERGING DESIGNER OF THE YEAR

Since her AW15 presentation at Fashion East in January of this year, Grace Wales Bonner Grace Wales Bonner has been lauded for her poetic take on race and masculinity; combining references to European and African culture with complex ideas about black representation. With the fashion industry enamoured by her work, she’s been hailed as one of London’s most exciting young talents. Last night this was officialised as Nick Grimshaw and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley presented her with the Emerging Designer of the Year award.