We share John Galliano's tribute to Anna Wintour OBE, as he presented her with the Outstanding Achievement Award last night at the British Fashion Awards 2014
"I’m constantly amazed by how Anna juggles all these plates in the air, but I’ve discovered to my cost that a rigorous sense of punctuality governs her crowded agenda. One year she invited me to the MET and I decided to wear a sari in homage to the evening’s Orientalism. But what with the jet lag, and everything, I couldn’t actually remember how to drape a sari. When suddenly there’s a phone call to tell me that Anna is already downstairs to collect me. About an hour early.
"She reached out to me when I had become an outcast – with almost daily phone calls, inspiration, encouragement – and really practical help"
I tucked the sari into my knickers – and ran. The next thing I know we are pulling up to the red carpet, getting out of the limo, Calvin and Donna and everyone are there, and my sari starts to unravel. I was beyond mortified. But in Anna’s world, for every problem, there is a solution. She very calmly said, “There’s an Indian prince somewhere inside, he’ll know how to drape a sari.” And there was one, and she found him, and the fashionable world was spared the sight of me in my knickers. But then Anna’s been so supportive all through my highs – and my lows. She reached out to me when I had become an outcast – with almost daily phone calls, inspiration, encouragement – and really practical help. This made all the difference. I wouldn’t be here today – healthy, happy, and embarking on my own new design adventure – if it wasn’t for her. So there are really no words to adequately express my gratitude to Anna for all that she has done and continues to do, for me, and for our industry, and for the future."
Last night the British Fashion Council held their annual award ceremony at London's Coliseum: a lavish celebration of fashion, attended by the good and the great of the industry. Victoria Beckham took home Brand of the Year, following the opening of her first standalone London store, while Erdem scooped the gold – Womenswear Designer of the Year. What really made this year’s show special however were the heartfelt tributes to fashion’s greatest doyens. A moment was given to Louise Wilson, with models dressed wearing the fashion houses that she helped to nurture: Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, Jonathan Saunders and Richard Nicoll. Later, John Galliano presented Anna Wintour OBE with the Outstanding Achievement Award for her prolific contribution to fashion. Dressed in a peak-lapelled dinner suit, Galliano presented the award with wit and warmth, recounting bygone days when Wintour would visit his studio as a penniless designer, and he would be heating baked beans over a Bunsen burner. “Anna is uniquely in tune with the present and the future, nurturing young designers,” he stated. “She also works tirelessly to help preserve fashion’s history.”
Words by Mhairi Graham