Stella McCartney proved to be the big winner at last night’s British Fashion Awards, taking home the Designer Brand prize and the top accolade, Designer of the Year.
The designer beat out Christopher Kane and newcomer Mary Katrantzou for Designer of the Year. McCartney has had a successful and highly visible year with her designs for Team GB at the Olympics, which she recognized during the evening.
“Something I’ve learnt this year is that great people make Great Britain. This has been one of the most incredible years of my life. I thank everyone who fell in love with the London 2012 Olympics,” said McCartney.
The label prevailed against stiff competition for the Designer Brand award. Alexander McQueen, Burberry, and Mulberry were all finalists in the category, which recognizes a brand that has made an international impact over the past year.
During her acceptance speech, McCartney spoke of how an unnamed fashion CEO in Paris told her she would fail if she set up her own brand when she handed in her resignation. He suggested that she stay in Paris to start her brand, but she declined and stuck to her instincts.
“I was really grateful for his offer, but I stuck to my instincts and told him that I still wanted to go. As I left he said - in a French accent - 'You need to learn. There has never in history of fashion been a British fashion house with a woman's name on the label that has ever been truly global,’” said McCartney.
Clearly, she proved this CEO wrong. The Stella McCartney brand is sold internationally including the United States, Hong Kong, and the UK, and continues to grow. It has a comprehensive selection of womenswear, shoes, accessories, and fragrances and counts many celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Moss, as fans.
Other luminaries to take home awards last night include Erdem for New Establishment, Roksanda Ilincic for the Red Carpet Award, and Louis Vuitton menswear creative designer Kim Jones for Best Menswear Designer.
The British Fashion Awards also honored Harold Tillman in a Special Recognition tribute for his contribution to fashion. Tillman steps down as Chairman of the British Fashion Council in January, a position he’s held since 2008.