Setting a new BFA record, Anderson won not only the Menswear Designer Award, but the Womenswear Designer Award as well – the two crowning honors of the event. Collecting the first gong from presenter Orlando Bloom, he announced cheerfully, "First of all, I used to have a crush on Orlando Bloom," to whoops and laughter from the audience. When he was called back moments later for the second award, he seemed almost at a loss for words. "I feel incredibly embarrassed," he said before thanking his "biggest hero," Karl Lagerfeld.
It was an important night for Lagerfeld too, the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award. Last year's winner, Anna Wintour, gave a heartfelt speech in his honor, speaking of Lagerfeld as a generous friend and a voracious reader, and describing how he once built a tennis court on his property in order to entice her to visit. (Read the full speech here.) To a standing ovation, Lagerfeld accepted the award with a few words of gratitude: "London is a great inspiration, and I never thought that I would get an award from the English community, so I'm very flattered because English fashion is much more about creativity."
It was also a happy occasion for Kanye West favorite Thomas Tait, who won the Emerging Womenswear Designer Award. "Thank you to everybody who hasn't confused me for a waiter or for Gareth Pugh tonight," he joked. The other Emerging Designer honors – for menswear and accessories – went to Grace Wales Bonner and Jordan Askill, while the Red Carpet Award was won by Tom Ford, who was not in town to accept it in person. Lady Gaga, arriving in one dramatic red gown and changing into another for the ceremony, was there in his place.
Olivier Rousteing and his selfie stick were on hand to present the Model of the Year Award to Jourdan Dunn. "It's not every night that I can take a selfie with an award, right? Even if it's not mine," he joked. After a tribute to Dunn ("She can twerk all night with really high heels and a really short bodycon dress"), he added a few words for Paris. "I feel really lucky to be with you tonight. I come from Paris, and as you know it was a really, really tough week for all the Parisians there. And I want to say thank you for all the support and the love – it means a lot to me. Pray for Paris, and pray for the world."
The International Designer of the Year Award went to Alessandro Michele for his work at Gucci, where he became creative director in January 2015. In an eloquent introduction, the journalist Tim Blanks described him as an "artist of paradox," a "revolutionary," a "punk" and a "fashion shaman." Accepting the award, Michele offered "10,000 thanks – one for each Gucci employee all over the world."
The late Central Saint Martins professor Louise Wilson taught so many of London's acclaimed designers that her name is invariably mentioned every year; last night, she was thanked by Mary Katrantzou, who took home the New Establishment Designer Award. Establishment Designer went to Erdem Moralioglu, who confessed that he felt "completely unestablished" in the company of fellow nominees Margaret Howell and Paul Smith.
Naomi Campbell presented the award for Creative Campaign to Burberry, which grabbed headlines by previewing its spring 2016 collection on Snapchat. Two British Style Awards, voted for by the public, went to FKA Twigs (Fashion Innovator) and Gwendoline Christie (Red Carpet Ambassador), while legendary photographer Nick Knight took home the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator. Charlotte Olympia, attending with her sister Alice Dellal, was the Accessory Designer of the Year.
The funniest and most unexpected guests of the evening were "Absolutely Fabulous" stars Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone. Played by the comedians Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, the duo presented Stella McCartney with the British Brand of the Year Award. Dressed in head-to-toe Giles, Edina offered "a little shout-out to all the homies," before praising McCartney's cruelty-free approach to fashion: "She's been making bags out of the pubic hair of wheatgrass for years."
At the center of the night was a musical moment. Reprising her appearance at Burberry's spring/summer 2016 collection, Alison Moyet performed "Only You" to a runway show of some of British fashion's recent triumphs – beginning with Hayett Belarbi McCarthy in a tulle Burberry dress, and closing with a topless, flag-waving model from Giles Deacon's most recent show. Creative, fierce and peculiarly British, the performance summed up the evening to a T.