The British Fashion Council has announced that two of the fashion industry’s most iconic designers will be honoured at this year’s Fashion Awards, which will be held at the Royal Albert Hall in London in partnership with Swarovski. Miuccia Prada will receive the Outstanding Achievement Award for her outstanding contribution to the global fashion industry. Meanwhile, Dame Vivienne Westwood will be honoured with the Swarovski Award for Positive Change, in recognition of her incredible contribution to the fashion industry and her continued work to promote and engage with the industry positively in making a global change for the benefit of the environment.
Speaking about The Swarovski Award for Positive Change, Caroline Rush, Chief Executive British Fashion Council, revealed that “Dame Vivienne Westwood has led the way championing humanitarian and environmental issues, and her contributions to British fashion make her one of the most respected designers in the fashion industry, and a great inspiration to us all.” Nadja Swarovski, of the Swarovski Executive Board, is equally impressed by the designer. “Dame Vivienne Westwood has made an indelible mark on global fashion and we are delighted to celebrate her inspirational creativity, lifelong advocacy of environmental causes and promotion of ethical fashion which have had an enduring and profound effect on the industry,” she said.
The Outstanding Achievement Award, meanwhile, celebrates the overwhelming creative contribution of an individual to the fashion industry, who throughout their illustrious career, has constantly shaped and reshaped the fashion world through their innovation and creativity. Previous winners of the Outstanding Achievement Award include Donatella Versace, Ralph Lauren, Karl Lagerfeld, Dame Anna Wintour OBE, and Manolo Blahnik CBE, to name only a few. Caroline Rush revealed that Miuccia Prada will be receiving the award “for being an incredible design maverick and for spearheading the evolution of the Prada group from a family business to a global brand.” Nadja Swarovski added that, “Miuccia Prada is unquestionably one of the most influential designers in fashion history. A true visionary, her dedication to fashion as an art form is endlessly inspirational. We are delighted to celebrate her remarkable achievements at this year’s Fashion Awards.”
Miuccia Prada has held the position of Lead Creative Director and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Italian fashion brand Prada for 40 years. She took over the family business in 1978 and began work with Patrizio Bertelli, who pioneered the introduction of a new business model in the luxury industry, based on direct control of all processes, applying rigorous quality criteria
through all stages of production. A business model that goes hand in hand with Miuccia Prada’s maverick creativity. The family business transformed from a small leather goods house into one of the fashion industry’s powerhouses, initially with an understated industrial black nylon backpack that countered the idea of traditional, conservative luxury and onto a hugely successful ready-to-wear line for women, “a uniform for the slightly disenfranchised.” Through her unconventional observation of society and her maverick ideas, Miuccia defines a product culture based on a creativity that is in a constant state of evolution. Her constant questioning and discussion of how to make a piece immune to “trend for trend’s sake” results in lasting pieces which reflect concepts instead of trends, and aspects of people, personalities and ideas.
Prada debuted their first catwalk in 1988 to critical acclaim and cemented Miuccia as a key fashion player. Since then, the fashion house has showcased womenswear and menswear collections in over 100 catwalk shows. These collections led to iconic campaigns from the Italian house which originated in black and white and evolved to high contrast and colour in the 2000s. They have always featured the biggest models of the moment – Carla Bruni, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell – all photographed by the best photographers including Steven Meisel, Glen Luchford, David Sims and Peter Lindbergh. More recently, Prada released their 365 campaign taking a new direction with several narratives intended to place the high-fashion designs in realistic environments as opposed to a more fantasised setting.
Dame Vivienne Westwood, by contrast, has spent the last 20 years campaigning for several environmental and human rights charities and grass roots NGOs, and has dedicated a number of her shows and collections to raise awareness around these causes. Since 2010, the brand has worked with the International Trade Centre, a joint body of the United Nations, to produce bags through their Ethical Fashion Initiative. The programme currently supports the work of thousands of women from marginalised African communities and empowers informal manufacturers and craftspeople to enter the international value chain – providing an income for some of the poorest people in the world. The collections are created using recycled materials from slums and land fill, and the income helps to stop the need to continue deforestation in the area. Dame Vivienne actively supports efforts to save the rainforest and stop climate change. She is also an ambassador for Greenpeace and in 2013, designed its official “Save the Artic” logo.
This year, the British Fashion Council and Swarovski have commissioned Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye OBE, the founder and principal architect of Adjaye Associates, to create the crystal trophies for The Fashion Awards. A study of form and material, optical effects are achieved through geometry which amplify the refraction, distortion and reflection of the Swarovski crystal material used to create each trophy. The six-sided column design tapers upward to create a dynamic form of triangular facets, utilising Swarovski’s innovative Wave Cut technology to achieve multiple concave surfaces. These surfaces, combined with the prismatic geometry, create beautiful and unexpected refractions. Each trophy weighs approximately 1.4kg kg and measures a substantial 24cm in height, and has been handcrafted from crystal by Swarovski’s master cutters at the company’s headquarters in Wattens, in Austria.