An illustrious crowd gathered at The Dorchester hotel in Mayfair on Monday night to celebrate British creativity, craftsmanship and innovation at the annual Walpole British Luxury Awards. Hosted by the Golden Globe- and Bafta-nominated actor Jason Isaacs, an audience of 400 guests applauded winners and nominees across nine categories, recognising the contribution of brands, individuals and institutions as ambassadors of Britain’s accomplished luxury sector.
Mulberry’s creative director Johnny Coca, who accepted the brand’s award for Luxury Maker of the Year, said: ‘It’s important for us, and for me, that we respect the quality behind everything that we do. It’s how to protect the craftsmanship and the manufacturing. For British brands it’s really important to keep, to preserve and to respect what we are strong at.’ The specialist leather goods brand operates two factories in Somerset where it employs over 600 craftsmen and women, including members of its apprenticeship programme.
Supermodel Yasmin Le Bon and The Times fashion director Anna Murphy presented the internationally renowned shoe maverick Manolo Blahnik with the Legend Award for ‘outstanding achievement in and contribution to British luxury’. Early on in his career, which spans over 40 years, the footwear designer was championed by the famous London fashion designer Ossie Clark, and his first ever-boutique was opened in Chelsea in 1971.
The evening continued by acknowledging the important role that Britain’s cultural institutions play in shaping public perceptions and the future of luxury, with the V&A’s forthcoming Fashioned from Nature exhibition taking home the Luxury with a Heart Award. Open now, Fashioned from Nature highlights the dependence of fashion on nature and explores the ways both industry and consumers can help to create a more responsible fashion system.
The British Luxury Overseas Award, for excellence in exporting and promoting goods and services globally, went to Fortnum & Mason. In recent years, the iconic London department store has expanded from its Piccadilly flagship and now has further boutiques at Heathrow Airport, St Pancras railway station and The Royal Exchange in the City. Fortnum & Mason products are exported to stockists across the globe, from St Petersburg to Sydney.
Rounding off the evening, the model and presenter Jodie Kidd handed Belmond the British Luxury Brand of the Year Award. The hotel company and travel operator has expanded exponentially in the past year, offering glamorous, curated travel experiences that can encompass opulent train journeys, unique river cruises and breathtaking African safaris. With a global portfolio of luxury properties, Belmond has attracted the attention of the world’s most sophisticated travellers with its offer of inspiring itineraries and bespoke adventures.
‘As we’ve seen celebrated so beautifully this evening, British luxury, the arts and culture in the UK make such a massive contribution to the global reputation of the country,’ said Walpole’s CEO Helen Brocklebank of the evening. ‘It seems more important than ever to celebrate the innovators, inventors and creatives who help to make Great Britain famous all over the world. My thanks to Jason Isaacs for being the perfect host and congratulations to all of our winners and shortlisted brands, you each make a towering contribution to the continuing success of our sector.’
To see a full list of the Walpole British Luxury Awards winners and nominees, visit thewalpole.co.uk