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Michaela Coel in Maximillian was everything we needed from the BAFTAs

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The Fashion East designer got his first red carpet moment on the inimitable writer

It was always going to be about Michaela Coel at this year’s BAFTAs and last night, the writer swept the ceremony, clanging home with a hat-trick of awards for Best Lead Actress, Best Mini-Series, and Best Director for the seminal I May Destroy You. And she did so in a custom dress from Fashion East’s Maximillian – a genius meeting of minds courtesy of stylist Nell Kalonji, AnOther’s senior fashion editor. 

It was the first time Coel had walked the red carpet in a dress made by someone other than herself or her mother. “I’m super grateful to be given this opportunity,” Maximilian told Vogue, “she’s so down to earth and genuine. I’m so happy she felt good in my design.”

The floor skimming Highway Gown, as it’s dubbed, was taken from the designer’s SS21 collection and features swooping cut-outs at the back and front – inspired by the Trinidadian motorways on which his Taxi-driving parents used to careen. Custom made for Coel, Maximillian finished the piece with the addition of striking red cuffs, marrying his vision of Black elegance with Coel’s award-winning excellence. 

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The writer dedicated the night’s awards to the series’ intimacy director Ita O’Brian. “Thank you for your existence in our industry, for making the space safe, for creating physical, emotional and professional boundaries so that we can make work about exploitation, loss of respect, about abuse of power without being exploited or abused in the process,” Coel said. 

Elsewhere, Josh O’Connor stepped out in emerging designer Steven Stokey-Daley, while the usual stalwarts made appearances on Nicola Coughlan, who was dressed in Valentino couture, Letitia Wright in jewel-encrusted Prada, Lydia West in a puff-sleeved Loewe gown, and Sophie Okonedo in a boned Bottega Veneta number.