Inside the British Fashion Awards

ELLE's highlights of the night


As usual it was a night to remember, with the British fashion world gathering to drink champagne in the Savoy’s glittering ballroom.

We took our seats alongside Rita Ora (who was wearing the first of three outfits – a strapless aquamarine Vivienne Westwood gown and diamond necklace) and waited for the ceremony to begin.

Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw kicked off proceedings with a jovial speech saying, ‘There is some serious talent in the room this evening...’ before turning to check out his co-host, actress Gemma Arterton, who was wearing a black suit by Stella McCartney – who went on to win two of the night’s biggest awards.


For the first of her awards, Designer Brand, the designer delivered the night’s best fashion story. Having apologised profusely for being useless at speeches, she went on to tell a rousing tale about the head of a ‘big French fashion house’ for whom she used to work (who the crowd, of course, knew to be Chloé), who told her she would fail, because ‘there has never in the history of fashion been a British fashion house with a woman’s name that has ever gone truly global.' Stella paused before saying, ‘I’ve never been so determined to prove someone wrong and i feel tonight is one step towards that.'


Model of the Year went to Cara Delevingne, who revealed her excitement about being nominated to ELLE before the ceremony: ‘Oh my God, I’m having a panic attack right now,’ she said, though you wouldn’t have known it when she calmly took the stage (wearing metallic green Burberry) having won the award. ‘This is madness. Unbelievable! Thank you for hiring my crazy self!’ she said.

The awards’ presenters were a galaxy of stars, with the award for British Style Icon being handed over to Alexa Chung by the impossibly glamourous (and impossibly tanned) Valentino, who is in town to open his show, Valentino: a master of Couture, at Somerset House. Andrea Riseborough, Pixie Geldof, model Amber Valetta, Jonathan Saunders, Samantha Cameron and a heavily pregnant Lily Cooper also took to the stage – though the latter only briefly as she presented the Menswear award: ‘I better cut to the chase or I might actually pee myself,' she said.

Even Princess Beatrice arrived to hand over a Special Recognition award to a visibly moved Harold Tillman, the outgoing chairman of the British Fashion Council.

Perhaps the most emotional moment of the ceremony arrived when Professor Louise Wilson OBE, director of Central St Martins’s fashion MA, who won the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator. After a wonderful video featuring some of her ex-students (17 of whom are now on the London Fashion Week schedule) talking about her harsh but effective teaching she stepped up to the podium, saying, ‘I have such a rep as a mean nasty bitch so I better not cry,’ before welling up whilst thanking St Martins. ‘I love it and I hate it equally,' she said.

Once Stella had taken the stage again to accept Designer of the Year (‘Thank you everyone for who fell in love with London 2012 – this is the best year to be British. Thank you to my husband who makes being married to me look so effortless and thank you to my babies who make my life worth living. I have the best job in the world’) it was Rita Ora’s turn to entertain the audience with an acoustic version of Notorious B.I.G.’s Party and Bulls**t, which got the post-awards party started...

The British Fashion Awards winners

See all the red carpet action from the British Fashion Awards 2012

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