Donatella Versace and Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri will both receive special recognition awards at The Fashion Awards on Monday night – the event will also mark the departure of British Fashion Council chairman Dame Natalie Massenet who stands down from the role after five years.
Versace will receive the Fashion Icon Award while Chiuri will be honoured with the Swarovski Award for Positive Change at the gala event, which takes places at the Royal Albert Hall on 4 December.
Chiuri is being recognised for her contribution to women’s empowerment in the fashion industry. She is the first female creative director in the history of the Dior house and has used the platform to promote women’s empowerment with initiatives such as her runways featuring Linda Nochlin’s battle-cry essay Why have there been no great women artists? and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists essay and TEDx talk.
“I am delighted and very honoured to receive the Swarovski Award for Positive Change. The feminist movement that has been mine for the longest time has finally struck a resonant chord in society, and this recognition sends a powerful message to all women battling on a daily basis. It also offers a timely opportunity to pay tribute to [the late editor of Vogue Italia] Franca Sozzani who, last year, was the recipient of the very first award,” Chiuri said.
Versace picks up her award 20 years after she took up the role of artistic house at the Italian house following the untimely death of her brother Gianni in 1997. As well as being responsible for countless cultural moments in fashion Versace is also being recognised for her support of new talent. In 2010 Versace launched the Central Saint Martins 20:20 Fashion Fund and most recently announced the Gianni Versace Scholarship. Donatella has also collaborated with some of the leading new talent in the UK including Christopher Kane, Jonathan Anderson and Michael Halpern.
“I am truly honoured to be collecting the Fashion Icon Award at The Fashion Awards 2017. For 40 years my brother and I have done what we love and that is a legacy I am honoured to continue and uphold. We have celebrated empowerment, joy and of course glamour. We have championed a community of people who share our values and together with them have created truly iconic images in the world of fashion. I am truly humbled by how Versace has been embraced across the decades, across the world and across the generations,” she said.
The Fashion Awards have been transformed under Dame Natalie Massenet who revamped the event to include awards for international talent and business, as well as specific awards for British talent. The event now also acts as a fundraiser for the British Fashion Council’s Education Foundation and Swarovski has been brought on board as the principal sponsor.
Massenet’s successor at the British Fashion Council has yet to be announced, though British GQ editor Dylan Jones has been mooted as a possible replacement. Jones is already chair of London Fashion Week Men’s and was instrumental in establishing the dedicated men’s fashion showcase in the capital. Previous occupants of the post include former Jaeger and Aquascutum owner Harold Tillman and former Marks & Spencer chief executive Sir Stuart Rose.