Let’s call it now. If 2018 was all about the rise and rise of Virgil Abloh – aka Louis Vuitton’s new head of menswear and the king of co-branded collaborations – then 2019 is sure to be the year of his supreme rule. (No LV x Supreme capsule pun intended – that honour goes to the former men’s creative director Kim Jones, now Dior, who engineered the cult capsule collection. Are you keeping up?)

Winnie Harlow and Virgil Abloh present the British Emerging Talent Menswear Award to Samuel Ross for A-COLD-WALL during The Fashion Awards 2018. (Credit: Getty Images)

The former architect turned Off-White founder and Kanye West co-creative took home the new Urban Luxe category at the British Fashion Awards 2018 in a room full of the industry’s biggest and brightest, including the Duchess of Sussex who (now famously) swathed her growing baby bump in custom Givenchy before presented Clare Waight Keller with an award – an image that’s trending across every social media platform on earth today.

American father-of-two Abloh was also a finalist in the coveted Designer of the Year category too. Victoria Beckham, who was nominated in the British Womenswear of the Year category (but, for the record, didn’t win) walked the red carpet arm in arm with husband David.

Nominee Victoria Beckham with husband David outside the Awards. (Credit: Getty Images)

Australian model and GRAZIA fashion shoot star Adut Akech was a finalist alongside Bella Hadid, Adwoa Aboah and GRAZIA Australia cover star Winnie Harlow in the Model of the Year category taken home by teen sensation Kaia Gerber. (Talking about keeping fine company.)

The penultimate award of the night – Designer of the Year – saw a field of finalists who all headed big-name international designer brands: Valentino, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Gucci. But several other key categories included finalists and indeed winners who aren’t yet household names.

Here, GRAZIA shares cliff-notes on who the category winners are and the key things you need to know about each. Consider it your fashion chat trivia for the next 12 months, sorted.

Accessories Designer of the Year

FINALISTS

Alessandro Michele for Gucci
Jonathan Anderson for Loewe
Maria Grazia Chiuri for Dior
Miuccia Prada for Prada

WINNER: Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga

You know those $1300, ultra-chunky Triple S platform sneakers by Balenciaga every style star worth her salt has been wearing for the past year? This man’s the wicked genius responsible. Having joined Balenciaga as creative director in 2015 following stints at Martin Margiela and Louis Vuitton, and the runaway success of his Avante Garde brand Vetements, Georgia-born Gvasalia has continued to create beautiful clothes that trade on shock value. (Classic example: that $1000 yellow DHL tee. Hideous but a hot ticket item.) True, any man who can tempt us to part with more than a grand for ugly sneakers

Brand of the Year

FINALISTS

Balenciaga
Burberry
Off-White
Prada

WINNER: Gucci

While joined by a field of highly deserving finalists, it’s no overstatement to say Gucci’s record-breaking reinvention under creative director Alessandro Michele has been nothing short of a blockbuster success story. So much so, in fact, that Michele has driven the entire industry’s fashion trends as a whole and competitors are flocking to imitate his aesthetic. The Italian brand’s sales have increased by a phenomenal 50 percent per year since his rise to the top creative role in 2015.

Designer Alessandro Michele accepted the Brand of the Year award for Gucci. (Credit: Getty Images)

British Designer of the Year Menswear

FINALISTS

Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson
Kim Jones for Dior Homme
Martine Rose for Martine Rose
Riccardo Tisci for Burberry

WINNER: Craig Green for Craig Green
Thirty-two-year-old menswear designer Craig Green, a graduate of prestigious Central Saint Martins college’s Master’s degree, was named part of the Business of Fashion’s BoF500 earlier this year. According to the online fashion business platform, this “Londoner’s true genius lies his ability to parlay his cerebral inspirations into unique yet wearable clothing, often with a utilitarian edge”. He’s been known to present his men’s designs on female models at times, no doubt to drive home their gender-neutral aesthetic and broad appeal. Enthusiastic about colours and bold detail, his approach to menswear is both tailored and maximalist. See more at his eponymous brand’s website here.

British Designer of the Year Womenswear

FINALISTS

Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson
Roksanda Ilinčić for Roksanda
Simone Rocha for Simone Rocha
Victoria Beckham for Victoria Beckham

WINNER: Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy
Famously the first woman to take the top job at the house of Givenchy, Clare Waight Keller built up a firm fan base at her previous fashion home of Chloe. Her collections for Givenchy since replacing Riccardo Tisci have been well-received by critics and performed well commercially. Despite a glowing rise to prominence in the industry, having worked with Tom Ford at Gucci, and at Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, arguably her biggest accolade to date was being selected to design the Duchess of Sussex (nee Meghan Markle)’s wedding gown. Indeed, the Duchess herself made a surprise appearance to present Keller with this award… wearing one-shouldered black velvet Givenchy, no less. Talking about rubbing shoulders with royalty.

British Emerging Talent Menswear

FINALISTS

Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty for Cottweiler
Eden Loweth and Tom Barratt for Art School
Kiko Kostadinov for Kiko Kostadinov
Phoebe English for Phoebe English

WINNER: Samuel Ross for A-Cold-Wall* (winner)

British Emerging Talent Womenswear

FINALISTS

Matty Bovan for Matty Bovan
Natalia Alaverdian for A.W.A.K.E.
Rejina Pyo for Rejina Pyo
Sofia Prantera and Fergus Purcell for Aries

WINNER: Richard Quinn for Richard Quinn

Designer of the Year

FINALISTS

Alessandro Michele for Gucci
Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy
Kim Jones for Dior Homme
Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton

WINNER: Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino

Model of the Year

FINALISTS

Adut Akech
Adwoa Aboah
Bella Hadid
Winnie Harlow

WINNER: Kaia Gerber 

Kaia Gerber accepting her Model of the Year award during The Fashion Awards 2018 at Royal Albert Hall. (Credit: Getty Images)

Urban Luxe

FINALISTS

Alyx
Balenciaga
Marine Serre
Supreme

WINNER: Off-White

Business Leader

FINALISTS

Jonathan Akeroyd for Versace
José Neves for Farfetch
Marco Gobbetti for Burberry
Michael Burke for Louis Vuitton

WINNER: Marco Bizzarri for Gucci

2018 Trailblazer Award
WINNER: Kim Jones (Creative Director – Louis Vuitton Men’s)

Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator
WINNER: Mert & Marcus (Fashion Photographers)

Winners of the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creation, photographers Marcus Piggott and Mert Alas, here Kate Moss and Penelope Cruz. (Credit: Getty Images)

Outstanding Achievement
WINNER: Miuccia Prada (Designer and Art Patron)

Special Recognition Award for Innovation
WINNER: Parley for the Oceans (an environmental organisation that supports creative industry to help prevent plastic entering our oceans)

Swarovski Award for Positive Change
WINNER: Vivienne Westwood (Designer and Campaigner)

Andreas Kronthaler with wife and long-time creative collaborator and Dame Vivienne Westwood. (Credit: Getty Images)
thoughts?