Hayley Bloomingdale reports from the front lines of the British Fashion Awards—and the fabulous Moda afterparty.
Perhaps because we’re already in “Christmas month” or simply because they’re the best way to convey celebration, sequins and sparkles were the look of the night at London’s British Fashion Awards on Monday night. Ruth Wilson shimmied up the Royal Albert Hall’s red carpet in sequined Erdem, model-of-the-year Adwoa Aboah lit up the night in sparkly multicolored Halpern and our own LSD found the perfect photo op for her head-to-toe sequined Emilia Wickstead look.
As I hopped out of the car in my own sparkly Wickstead dress and a dramatic robe coat by Savile Row tailor Huntsman, I was greeted to loud cries of “Hayley! Hayley!” from the waiting photographers. Slightly confused, I nonetheless prepared my camera face just as model Hailey Baldwin strutted by in a custom Topshop mini. Her posing skills far out performed my own so, accepting defeat, I ran up the red carpet to have my own iPhone photo shoot with some slightly lesser-known guests.
Once inside, we were treated to a proper cocktail hour with a mini bar (designated bartender included) built into each table, so by the time Karlie Kloss and comedian Jack Whitehall took the stage to kick off their hosting duties, we were all set on drinks and ready for some food… and fashion.
From Dame Anna Wintour’s heartfelt speech presenting Christopher Bailey his award for Outstanding Contribution to British Fashion (Breaking: I’m pretty sure she shed a tear or two) to J.W. Anderson’s double whammy wins for both Womenswear Designer of the Year and Accessories Designer of the Year, and well-deserved standing ovations for Pat McGrath’s win of the Isabella Blow for Fashion Creator award and Stella McCartney’s for Fashion Innovation, it felt like we were giving proper homage to some of our industry’s greatest.
A personal highlight was the stunning tribute to Azzedine Alaïa, which included speeches from several models he worked with over the years and was led by Naomi Campbell, who described living with the late designer when she was just 16 years old. The night ended with a hilariously camp performance from the London Gay Men’s Choir complete with—of course—a flurry of gold confetti falling like snow across the hall.
After one last toast, a blur of sequins raced out to waiting cars headed to the Chiltern Firehouse for the “unofficial” after-after party hosted by Moda Operandi—with a little help from Derek Blasberg, Giovanna Battaglia and Poppy Delevingne. In keeping with the night’s theme, glittery gold wristbands emblazoned with “VIP” were required for entrance to our exclusive soiree. And what a crew of VIPs we were! With Raf Simons, Jonathan Anderson, Michael Halpern, Adwoa Aboah, and Donatella Versace holding up court by the bar, we had most of the night’s winners in our midst! Then came the model crew: Kaia Gerber, Jourdan Dunn, Malgosia Bela, Winnie Harlow, Arizona Muse and Amber Valetta. Tequila cocktails were sipped and late night French fries nibbled on, and so, with new stamina, we turned the hotel’s bar into a full-on dance floor with the party continuing downstairs on the very exclusive and hidden smoking terrace. (Pro tip: you enter through a door in the ladies’ bathroom.)
As I headed home in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, I wondered how the rest of the week could possibly top my Monday. But then I remembered our #ModaMews holiday party was on the agenda this week, and all was well in my world again.