Is Global Fashion Awards, London’s Answer to the Met Ball?


On the evening of December 5th, a vast, floodlit red carpet will transport many of the global fashion world’s most high-wattage figures up the grand staircase of London’s Royal Albert Hall to The Fashion Awards 2016, a newly christened annual awards event organised by the British Fashion Council (BFC), in partnership with Swarovski.

Formerly known as the British Fashion Awards, the revamped event will have a new global focus, with awards honouring international talent from both the creative and business sides of the industry, and a bigger public audience. The BFC also plans to broadcast the event internationally. And, for the first time, the Awards will have an additional sense of purpose: raising money to support fashion education in the UK through the BFC Fashion Education foundation.

“We aspire to create an event that is like a mix of the Academy Awards and the Met Ball, on a global scale,” Dame Natalie Massenet, chairman of the BFC, told BoF in an exclusive interview at the Royal Albert Hall. “It’s going to be the most sweeping, beautiful, magical, sparkly, twinkly, elegant red carpet you’ve ever seen.”

Indeed, while previous BFC awards events took place at the London Coliseum and, before that, at the Savoy Hotel, the move to the Royal Albert Hall, one of London’s most iconic performing arts venues, signals the scale of Massenet’s ambition for the annual event, which has already been transformed under her watch into a key moment on the global fashion calendar, attracting attendees from around the world, including bigwigs from European conglomerates including LVMH, Kering and OTB.

The new venue will also enable the Awards to admit a larger public audience. Last year, the sold-out London Coliseum event hosted over 2,000 guests; this year, the Royal Albert Hall will host just over 3,000 attendees, and half of these seats will be available for purchase by the general public, starting Tuesday 3 May.

”The special thing about this event is that it’s also open to the public for purchasing of tickets,” said Nadja Swarovski, member of the executive board of Swarovski. Since joining the crystal company in 1995, Nadja Swarovski has increased its ties to the fashion industry, through jewellery collaborations with designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Christopher Kane and sponsorship of events including the British Fashion Awards and the CFDA Awards. “This very special location really allows us to increase the viewership but still maintain the intimacy,” she said.

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