London—It was definitely “ladies first” at the British Fashion Awards (BFA) on Monday night as Sarah Burton, Victoria Beckham and Stella McCartney walked away with top honors.
The United Kingdom’s equivalent of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)’s annual awards, the celebrity-laden event held at the Savoy Hotel saluted the best in British fashion including the usual suspects and some surprises.
Given her nearly universal praise for her Royal Wedding designs, Burton, creative director at Alexander McQueen, took home the top prize: “Designer of the Year.” The London press hailed Burton’s award as evidence that the 36-year-old designer has indeed filled the boots left by the late McQueen.
The biggest surprise, however, may have been Victoria Beckham’s recognition for “Designer Brand Award.”
The 37-year-old Beckham, the former Spice Girl, soccer star mom, and paparazzi queen, had been viewed skeptically by the fashion establishment when she began her own collection in 2008.
But Beckham, whose business is in its seventh season with five product categories (including eyewear, handbags and leathergoods), beat out longstanding favorites Burberry, Tom Ford and McCartney, for the Designer Brand Award.
Beckham: ‘She is Her Own Customer’
“I am absolutely thrilled to have won the Designer Brand Award. To be recognized in this way in the company of Stella, Tom and Burberry was overwhelming,” Beckham said. “This is an award not just for me, but for Simon Fuller and my team who work with such passion and dedication with me.”
Fuller, whose XIX Entertainment manages Annie Lennox, The Spice Girls, Lisa Marie Presley, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Lopez and David Beckham, was the mastermind behind Victoria Beckham’s business rise. Designer Marc Jacobs presented Beckham with her award.
The British Fashion Council called Beckham’s business “a leading British-based designer brand that has excelled and made an impact on the international stage over the past year. Her business has focused growth strategy with each new product range receiving media praise and achieving high levels of sell through. She is her own customer and this insight has created a label with many loyal followers across the globe.”
Despite her loss to Beckham, Stella McCartney, got another top honor, The “Red Carpet” in recognition of “the quantity and quality of her designs worn on the red carpet, creating global awareness in the media.”
The hotly contested “Accessory Designer of the Year” recipient was Charlotte Dellal for her footwear label Charlotte Olympia which is inspired by the glamour of the 40s and 50s.
In other awards, Sir Paul Smith received the “Outstanding Achievement Award.”