Great Brits

The British Fashion Council Doles Out Its Annual Awards


Salma Hayek, Stella McCartney, and Amber Valletta   
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It was a one-two punch for Stella McCartney last night as she won both the Designer of the Year and the Designer Brand of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in London—not unexpected victories given how she outfitted Team GB at the Summer Olympics. At the podium, McCartney recounted how a French design executive told her she would "fail miserably—that there would never be a British fashion house with a woman's name on it that would be global." Guess who got the last laugh. It was tears, though, for Louise Wilson, the Central Saint Martins professor who picked up the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator. "I have such a reputation for being a nasty bitch," she said, "so I better not ruin that and cry." Cry she did.

There was no shortage of celebrities at the increasingly Hollywood-like ceremony, and all of them stuck to the script. Show host and Bond girl Gemma Arterton, Salma Hayek, and Amber Valletta wore Stella, Lily Collins chose Mulberry, and Andrea Riseborough and Livia Firth opted for Red Carpet Award-winner Roksanda Ilincic. Edie Campbell (sporting new short hair) and Amber Le Bon were both in Christopher Kane, and Caroline Issa donned Temperley. It was a true Brit-in, one not without its Monty Python-esque moments: Valentino introducing Alexa Chung as "Alexia Schlong," Gemma Arterton telling a startled crowd that Jonathan Saunders had a lot of "clitoral acclaim," and Princess Beatrice, bless, referring to outgoing BFC chair Harold Tillman as Howard Tillman.

Being a British night, rock 'n' roll was well represented too: Ronnie Wood presented Saunders with his award, and a pregnant Lily Rose Cooper (née Allen) gave the menswear prize to Kim Jones of Louis Vuitton. Then there was Nick Cave, who showed up with wife and presenter Susie Bick on his arm, in one of the original rock star/supermodel pairings. Speaking of pairings, at the wine-soaked dinner that followed, Princess Beatrice greeted Salma Hayek like a long-lost friend, and Valentino and Rita Ora were locked in a tête-à-tête. And there weren't any sore losers, either: "Stella was very deserving, it was definitely her year," Mary Katrantzou told "What she said about being told that there was no such thing as a global brand with a woman's name on it really touched mebecause I am trying to build a global brand too."

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