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True Brits

London fashion honors its own

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Kate Moss and Rita Ora   
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Kate Moss. She's a woman of many pictures but few words. After her good friend Marc Jacobs gave her an extravagant and heartfelt introduction before she was honored with a special recognition award at the British Fashion Council's ceremony last night, Moss kept it short and sweet: "Thanks to all the people who have booked me over the years. I am really grateful," she said, and then she was off.

That was just one gong throughout a night in which the presenters nearly outshone the presentees with their star power. Gwyneth Paltrow, Donatella Versace, Sienna Miller, Clémence Poésy, Samantha Cameron, and Suki Waterhouse all handed out trophies. On the receiving end were the likes of Christopher Kane, Erdem Moralioglu, Christopher Bailey, J.W. Anderson, Simone Rocha, and Sophia Webster. But perhaps the most poignant moment came when Jefferson Hack introduced special recognition award winner Suzy Menkes with a little-known story of how her career began when she crashed a Karl Lagerfeld for Chloé show and got in the only way she knew how: dressed up as a cleaning lady. When the first model hit the catwalk, Menkes jettisoned her mop and bucket to take a seat, and the rest is fashion history. A humble and articulate Menkes mesmerized the crowd with her tales, then gently scolded the industry for the freebie culture before acknowledging "these are tough times for fashion."

Maybe so, but it certainly didn't seem that way at the bacchanalian party over at the Playboy Club for the mag's 60th-anniversary cover girl, Ms. Moss. Rita Ora, Bob Geldof, Yasmin Le Bon, Harry Styles, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, not to mention virtually all of London's designers, turned up to raise a glass to Moss, whose anniversary cover wallpapered the room. Jacobs, who played host, told Style.com: "She is a genuine icon, and I don't throw that word around a lot—believe me. It's not just fashion history where she will be remembered, but history, full stop."

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