Colin/ Wikimedia Commons
Colin/ Wikimedia Commons

British Fashion Awards 2023

The annual British Fashion Awards, established in 1989, took place on 4 December in London’s Royal Albert Hall and this year was presented by Pandora. This event aims to showcase both British and international contributors who have made an impact on the industry. In addition to this, the awards also raise money for the BFC Foundation, which cultivates the progress of designers at all levels. Therefore, this celebration of fashion for fashion’s sake is a spectacle not to be ignored, with a large celebrity guest list and a magnificent display of interesting looks – in which 2023 did not fall short.

Not only is this fashion statement a spectacle, but it is also a vintage piece.

The red carpet, which many graced that evening, showcased an array of statements declaring the boundaries for fashion looks as endless. This is primarily exemplified by Anne Hathaway’s dress, a Valentino Garavani bridal gown, which she wore whilst accompanying Garavani’s life and business partner, Giancarlo Giametti. This archival piece was from the Roman House’s Spring/Summer 1993 collection, in which Giametti declared, “Valentino designed it thinking about spaghetti.”. The cascading, pasta-like layering of this dress emphasises the proportionality of the look and elongates the model’s figure beautifully. It is a masterpiece that Hathaway carries beautifully while fulfilling her “dream[s] of being pasta!” Not only is this fashion statement a spectacle, but it is also a vintage piece, propelling the idea of sustainable fashion forward. Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion: the revival of this gown expresses the importance of slow fashion. It also potentially influences future bridal looks with the off-white tones and elegant neckline towards a timeless stature.

It highlights the importance of the individual who is wearing the clothes and their role in embodying the vision to bring it to life

Another timeless piece from the red carpet was the gown Lila Moss, daughter of Kate Moss, wore that night. This stunning piece is the product of harmony between two influential figures within fashion, broadcasting the relationship between artist and model. The designer Nensi Dojaka exhibits her signature lingerie-inspired elements in this dress, which Lila explains is “classic Nensi.”. However, with a “twist [in] the choice of fabric” featuring sheer cut-outs and a symmetrical aesthetic, this gown’s illusion of an open back is both elegant and striking. The inspiration for this alteration in the look was ultimately drawn from one of Kate’s ’90s dresses, “the iconic Liza Bruce sheer slip dress [she wore] in 1993.”. Despite being a controversial piece at the time, its elegance has stood the test of time and was uplifted on the awards red carpet. This act of sheer adoration for her mother was further brought to life by the hairstylist, Paul McCash, who recreated an effortless up-do inspired by “[Kate’s] wispy bun for a Donna Karan show in 1993.”. Although Kate plays a large part in the image of this look, it is Lila whom Dojaka herself declares as an “ideal fit for the Nensi Dojaka woman who’s owning her femininity.”. Thus, it highlights the importance of the individual who is wearing the clothes and their role in embodying the vision to bring it to life, which Lila does perfectly.

Despite high-profile designers like Valentino and Dojaka being in play on the 2023 Fashion Awards red carpet, one attendee did not let this overwhelming crowd influence her. Instead, singer-songwriter Suki Waterhouse entered the event in an H&M dress, declaring herself a “high street girl at heart.”. This floor-length gown capitalised on the recent popularity of the colour red seen all over social media, and the abundance of tulle was perfect for the Christmas period. Head of Womenswear Design and Creative Director Ann-Sofie Johansson describes this collection as “timeless evening wear pieces… that you turn to time and time again when the party season comes around,” a statement that contradicts the brand’s fast fashion image. This dress is available to buy from the brand for £279.99 (without the train) from 7 December, yet nearly 10 days after it launched, it was not completely sold out. Therefore, despite the attempted connection between high-street shoppers and high fashion, one questions who the targeted audience is for the elevated H&M edit.

Still holding a position as a high-street brand, H&M now has two drastically different selling points. Could we possibly see the start of a new market developing, or is this well-known business attempting to break away from its previous branding and make a new headway? This event at the Royal Albert Hall was truly a display and made sure to provide us with the opportunity to “amplify leaders of change, celebrate excellence in creativity, and support the next generation of creative talent”.


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