The Fashion Awards Analysis

Only eight months after being appointed creative director at Bottega Veneta and Daniel Lee finds himself up for four Fashion Awards this December – quite a remarkable feat for an appointment and re-brand that, two collections in, still has the critics divided in Marmite fashion (though Instagram may tell you a different story). 

The news comes as part of an interesting selection of nominee nods this season. John Galliano, the original “cancelled” designer who has spent the better part of the decade redeeming and rehabilitating himself, is up for British Designer of the Year for Maison Margiela. José Neves of Farfetch Ltd, the recently listed company which is at the centre of multiple class-action lawsuits alleging that the luxury fashion platform misled shareholders during its IPO, is up for Business Leader. 

The much-loved French brand Jacquemus is up for Brand of the Year, yet received neither a nod for womenswear or menswear (which made its debut this year), just accessories. Gucci is up for three awards including Designer of the Year and Brand of the Year despite reports that its growth has been slowing of late; while its Kering-owned counterpart Balenciaga is nowhere to be seen – quite the different story from last year. Creative director Demna Gvasalia, notably, stepped down from his brand Vetements back in September. 

Of course, JW Anderson, London’s answer to Marc Jacobs, got a substantial look in, nominated four times. The designer has yet to receive a bad review for either his JW or Loewe collections and, where other brand hopefuls tried and failed to make an impact on the international stage, he has succeeded – and each year rumours about his rise through the LVMH ranks swirl. Accordingly, he has been handsomely Fashion Award-awarded pretty much every year. 

Yet there is one name missing from the awards list at all. Celine. And Hedi Slimane for Celine. Since the designer’s bourgeois-inspired Autumn/Winter 2019 collection there has been no end of trend stories on how to wear it and buy handbags just like it; a revolution in real-dressing was made. Also, it’s selling: this month the house opened a new factory in Chianti, Italy, to increase the production of its handbags and small leather goods. Accessories Designer of the Year fodder, surely?

It comes down to the Old Celine versus New Celine divide. Instigated when Phoebe Philo of the more minimalist and arty camp was replaced by Hedi Slimane of the more intimidatingly slick and cool camp in 2018, it’s the hangover that won’t go away and likely why Rejina Pyo, in much the same way as Lee at Bottega, is a popular name in the running for Emerging Talent Womenswear. Since Philo’s departure, both designers have been dubbed as shoe-fillers for Philo’s aesthetic. And seemingly the fashion industry (who vote for these awards) just can’t let go of that yet. 

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