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What went down at The Fashion Awards 2021

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From Billy Porter’s big entrance and a surprise Kylie Minogue performance, to poignant tributes to Virgil Abloh

Last night, after a year’s hiatus thanks to you-know-what, the British Fashion Council’s Fashion Awards returned to London’s Albert Hall, this time in partnership with TikTok. And while it was bloody baltic, as temperatures dipped well below freezing, the fashion crowd turned it out on the red carpet. Here’s everything you missed from the show.

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LITERALLY EVERYONE WAS THERE

The UK’s answer to the Met Gala dragged in some of the biggest names in the industry, including Anna Wintour, Rick Owens, Tommy Dorfman, Evan Mock, Noomi Rapace, and KRIS fucking JENNER, who linked up with Law Roach to present Tommy Hilfiger with an award for his outstanding contribution to fashion as we know it. Also landing on the red carpet were the likes of Lila Moss, Bimini, Shygirl, Precious Lee, Noomi Rapace, and Paul Mescal, who slipped into some gold satin Gucci for the occasion. 

IT WAS A BIG NIGHT FOR RICHARD QUINN

As troupe of interpretive dancers clad in the designer’s Leigh Bowery-esque floral all-in-ones ushered host Billy Porter – also in custom Quinn – into the venue, others hitting the red carpet in his looks included Priyanka Chopra, Addison Rae, and Rocks star Kosar Ali. Even more iconically, he also kitted out none other than Kylie Minogue and her backing dancers in flouncy florals, as the legendary singer performed a tripped out version of (her absolute banger) “Slow”.

IT STARTED WITH A TRIBUTE TO VIRGIL ABLOH

But then, how could it not? Though the awards were undeniably a joyous occasion – in which the fashion crowd got together to celebrate the pioneers pushing the industry forward after a year of separation – Abloh’s far too early passing permeated the show. Winner after winner acknowledged his unfathomable impact on the landscape and their own lives, with Kim Jones, Samuel Ross, and Gareth Wrighton and Campbell Addy on behalf of IB Kamara all paying emotional homage to the late designer in their speeches. 

…AND A POIGNANT WIN FOR FOR HIM

Alongside Alessandro Michele, Demna Gvasalia, Kim Jones, and Jonathan Anderson, Abloh was honoured as a Leader of Change. In a short video message recorded last week, the designer accepted the award, calling the win “extremely humbling”. “A part of my practice within design, fashion, art, and culture is to keep those doors open for the future generations that I’ve been able to open for myself,” he added. “Recognition like this keeps me motivated and inspired. Thank you for this opportunity, and thank you for the recognition.” 

OUR VERY OWN IB KAMARA WON BIG

…Taking home the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator. As he couldn’t be there in person – given he’s out in Miami preparing for the upcoming Louis Vuitton show – our editor-in-chief called on longtime collaborators and Dazed family members Gareth Wrighton and Campbell Addy to collect it for him, with the two reading out a touching speech. “”A special dedication to Virgil Abloh. You will always be one of a kind. Your heart, your soul… so unique, so pure, so full. Your mind, a gift to witness. Thank you for changing the world… for inspiring young Black kids all around the world to dream and keep dreaming. I love you,” he wrote, adding: “I’d like to end by encouraging each and every single person in this room to petition our governments to invest in youth. To invest in arts. And to invest in humanity. Invest in immigrants.” 

TOMMY HILFIGER WAS HONOURED

Legend in the game Tommy Hilfiger scored this year’s award for his outstanding contribution to the fashion industry, as models decked out in full looks from the designer’s archives strutted through a brief history of the beloved American brand – among them Drag Race superstar Tayce and the icon that is Naomi Campbell. 

SOME OF DAZED’S MEGA FAVES WERE ALSO RECOGNISED

…with a montage of big Fashion East moments reminding everyone of Lulu Kennedy’s endless dedication to nurturing and spotlighting new gen talent for over 20 years. In that mix was Kim Jones, who started out as a fresh-faced baby designer in the Fashion East fam, before going stratospheric with appointments at Louis Vuitton, Dior, and now Fendi under his belt. Taking home the award for Designer of the Year, unsurprisingly he dedicated it to his beloved friend, Virgil Abloh. Elsewhere, Telfar Clemens, Priya Ahluwalia, Bethany Williams, and Samuel Ross were celebrated as changemakers, for their commitment to shifting the fashion landscape and pushing for sustainability within the industry.