It was a bright starry night, both literally and figuratively, on Monday night when I attended the 2013 British Fashion Awards. The great and the good of the fashion world would be attending and, as someone newly emerging as a fashion stylist, I will admit to feeling a little intimidated by the prospect of being surrounded by 'the beautiful people' for a whole evening!
I was not to spend the evening alone though as I felt privileged to have my beautiful colleague and friend Kathy Tayler with me. Kathy is always so lovely and generous of spirit that I knew we were sure to have a fun evening!
I got my timings a little mixed up and Kathy and I ended up meeting more than two hours before the event! Oops. (She did a brilliant job of not being cross with me, especially as she had a very early start the next morning!) That said, we made the most of it and went to The Strand Hotel at Charing Cross and had a nice cup of tea! (Well the theme for the evening, specified on the invitation, was 'Black Tie & British' and you can't get more British than a good cuppa!)
Having steeled ourselves with several cups of warming tea, not to mention a good old chat, we ventured out into the cold night and made our way to the ENO Coliseum, the home of the fashion awards hosted by the British Fashion Council and its sponsors. It was all very glamorous, starting with the red carpet! We made a quick stop for a few photos then made our way inside for the champagne reception which was by now in full swing.
Everywhere I looked it was one stunning dress after another. Everyone had really gone all out to make their mark. To be honest I thought there would be a lot of jockeying for attention and people trying to be seen, but actually everyone was really chilled out just having fun, chatting and soaking up the atmosphere.
Kathy and I made our way up to our designated area, grabbed a glass of complimentary Champagne from the bar and literally started chatting to complete strangers. There was a beautiful Scandinavian scarf designer called Rags (such a brilliant name for someone working in the fashion trade, don't you think?) as well as fashion bloggers, stylists, editors et al.
There were even free hairstyling and make-up stations for those who needed a quick freshen-up, or for those who had come directly from work!
David Walliams had been billed to host the evening but at the last minute, due to a back injury, he couldn't do it so the brilliant Jack Whitehall stood in for him. He had us all laughing from the moment he stepped on the stage. Witty, cheeky and irreverent, he was just the thing a room filled with fashion royalty needed to take the edge off.
I was in fashion heaven I don't mind telling you.
As the awards ceremony commenced and the nominees were announced for the first category I happened to voice who I thought the winner should be and I, by chance, got it right. That started a game of 'Guess The Winner' with Kathy and me that lasted for the rest of the ceremony. We did laugh a lot. I won't say who won, but I will say to you to think very carefully before getting into any kind of a game with a former world champion athlete!
There were so many famous faces there that evening. Kate Moss won a special award for her 25 years in fashion (and she is only 39!), presented to her by Marc Jacobs, a long-time friend of hers. Suzy Menkes won a Special Recognition Award for her contribution to the fashion industry over the years. Gwyneth Paltrow presented an award to Miuccia Prada for Best International Designer. Christopher Bailey (who was taught by one of my lecturers on my fashion styling course) won Designer of The Year for his work at Burberry. Sienna Miller also presented an award to Christopher Bailey on behalf of Burberry which won 'Brand of The Year'. One Direction's Harry Stiles was there too and picked up the British Style Award. Donatello Versace, Tinie Tempah, Rita Ora, and so many other famous names and famous were there that I can't fit them all in.
Suffice it to say, we had a fab time, it was all so exciting and exhilarating. There was breathtaking fashion everywhere and so many glittering stars, but the brightest for me on the evening was the beautiful Kathy Taylor.