Meghan Markle, Miuccia and Steve McQueen – inside last night’s epic Fashion Awards

Move over, Met Gala - last night's Fashion Awards were officially fashion's most epic event. Read on for the inside scoop and the best quotes of the night...

It’s the fashion equivalent of the Oscars – but last night’s The Fashion Awards in partnership with Swarovski at the Royal Albert Hall was quite a lot like the actual Oscars.

Hosted by the dream lols-and-glamour combo of Jack Whitehall and model Alek Wek, anyone not living under a rock will know about Meghan Markle’s surprise appearance on stage to present her wedding dress designer Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy with Womenswear Designer of the Year.

But it was A-list on every other front too – actors including Steve McQueen, Uma Thurman, Robert Pattinson, Rosamund Pike, Penelope Cruz and Brooke Shields took to the stage to present awards. and there were performances from Ellie Goulding and Boy George – who ended the ceremony with a moving tribute to the iconic 80s jeweller and stylist Judy Blame, and the legendary set designer Michael Howells, who both died this year. The star quotient was so off the charts, we nearly forgot to mention Kate Moss, Alexa Chung and Rita Ora, who also all made appearances…

A catalogue of industry heavyweights received awards, including Miuccia Prada (who received a standing ovation) Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli, and Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, who wandered amongst the disco balls wearing a tiara. Now that’s a party.

Far from being fluffy (although it is that, too), the fashion industry is worth billions to the UK economy and is one of the country’s biggest employers. The Fashion Awards celebrate the talent and creativity that drives the business – and they’re also the biggest fundraiser of the year for the British Fashion Council, with the money raised being channelled into supporting and nurturing new design talent. The Meghan Moment TM – and so many other moments too – it’s fair to say the BFC raised the bar to epic new heights last night. Watch out Met Gala, London’s coming for you!

Here’s the list of winners in full, and the evening’s best quotes…

Urban Luxe Award: Virgil Abloh for Off-White

Accessories Designer of the Year: Demna Gvsalia for Balenciaga

Swarovski Award for Positive Change: Dame Vivienne Westwood, below with Jerry Hall. ‘I have a plan to save the world from climate change and financial crash. I can’t do it on my own, and I want you to help me.’

Business Leader: Marco Bizzarri for Gucci

Special Recognition Award for Innovation: Parley for the Oceans

British Emerging Talent Menswear: Samuel Ross for A-COLD-WALL*

British Emerging Talent Womenswear: Richard Quinn, below, with Karen Elson

British Designer of the Year Menswear: Craig Green

British Designer of the Year Womenswear: Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy, presented by the Duchess of Sussex, who told the crowd: ‘It is such a pleasure to be here celebrating British fashion and British fashion designers in my new home, the UK. As all of you in this room know, we have a deep connection to what we wear, this connection is rooted in supporting and empowering each other, especially as women. When we choose to wear a certain designer, we’re not just a reflection of their creativity and their vision, we’re also an extension of their values – of something in the fabric, so to speak, that is much more meaningful. I feel especially proud to announce tonight’s winner – who yes, is a British designer leading on the global stage with vision and creativity, but also with incredible kindness. Which is why, when I met her for the first time 11 months ago, I knew we’d be working very closely together.’

Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator: Mert & Marcus

Brand of the Year: Gucci. ‘I’m nervous. I’m sorry!’ Creative director Alessandro Michele, below

British Fashion Awards 2018

Model of the Year: Kaia Gerber, below. ‘I didn’t win many things growing up, so mom and dad [aka Cindy and Rande Gerber] – this makes up for all the times you showed up anyway!’

Outstanding Achievement Award: Miuccia Prada, below with Steve McQueen and Uma Thurman. ‘I think that we should feel the responsibility of defending human rights and freedoms – that in this moment, are endangered.’

Designer of the Year: Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino, below, with Brooke Shields. ‘If I’m reading this speech tonight, it means that dreams can take you to places you never expected to be.’

2018 Trailblazer: Kim Jones (artistic director of Dior menswear)

One question – how are we going to top this next year?

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