2016 was the year of changes for The British Fashion Council. From the decision to re-brand London Fashion Week and move away from the ridiculously situated Soho car park to re-packaging of the professional trade show as an open-to-the-wider-audience London Fashion Week Festival – think takeaway sausages and drinks in plastic cups. The decision that will undoubtedly impact the future of British fashion, the consequences of which we are yet to see next September. But it wasn’t the only change; back in spring, the BFC have issued a glitzy press release announcing that the British Fashion Awards is also being re-branded. The BFC together with the founders of the British Fashion Awards – Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet, Swarovski heir Nadja Swarovski, and Caroline Rush – set a challenging task – to create an event competing in its size and impact with glamorous Met Ball.
“Our aim is to make the Fashion Awards 2016 bigger and better than ever, and to celebrate the global fashion industry at the beautiful and iconic London venue, the Royal Albert Hall,” says BFC chairman Natalie Massenet. “We aspire to create an event that is like a mix of the Academy Awards and the Met Ball, on a global scale,” (but dumbed down. Ed) Massenet told Business of Fashion. “It’s going to be the most sweeping, beautiful, magical, sparkly, twinkly, elegant red carpet you’ve ever seen.” And so the Fashion Awards was born.
As we now can judge in retrospect, the first step for founders was to invite and honour trending American ‘personalities’ who although have nothing to do with Britain or fashion, guaranteed the publicity. The list of awards tells us that in chasing a big buck the BFC have denounced its Britishness. Four British based awards against five International awards, in addition to four special awards with no winners from Britain whatsoever, tell us just how ‘cosmopolitan’ have the Fashion Awards become. So lame it was on the night that teenagers Willow and Jaden Smith won the ‘New Fashion Icons’ award. Hilarious! Those kids have done nothing in life by themselves, dress like tramps on acid, and now have ‘beaten’ real fashion icons in this inane ‘rebranding’. Pathetic.
Soon after the awards ceremonynews appeared that Sarah Mower MBE, -the English fashion journalist, president of the BFC Education Pillar, a founding member of the London Showrooms and a passionate advocate of emerging British talent announced her departure from the BFC Fashion Awards. Having previously warned BFC chair Dame Natalie Massenet on the revamp of the British Fashion Awards, Mower understood that is was the polar opposite of the New Generation prizes that she advocated over the years to support young British designers, instead of rewarding the more commercial and somewhat irrelevant side of the industry.
We could not agree more with Mower. Why not BRITISH style icons? New designers?
A full list of The Fashion Awards 2016 winners:
British Emerging Talent (presented by Alexa Chung and Jordan Kale Barrett) – Molly Goddard
British Menswear Designer (presented by Lady Gaga) – Craig Green for Craig Green
British Womenswear Designer (presented by Kate Beckinsale) – Simone Rocha for Simone Rocha
British Brand (presented by Naomi Campbell) – Alexander McQueen
International Business Leader (presented by Henri Francois Pinault and Karlie Kloss) – Marco Bizzarri for Gucci
International Urban Luxury Brand (presented by Marilyn Manson) – Vetements
International Model (presented by Donatella Versace) – Gigi Hadid
International Accessories Designer (presented by Jared Leto) – Alessandro Michele for Gucci
International Ready-to-Wear Designer (presented by Carine Roitfeld and Stella Tennant) – Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga
Outstanding Achievement in Fashion – Ralph Lauren
The Swarovski Award for Positive Change – Franca Sozzani
Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator – Bruce Weber