At the end of a year in which UK designers appeared in the news pages as much as the style supplements, the great and the good assembled for the British Fashion Awards at The Savoy last night to celebrate another outstanding year for home-grown talent.
Sarah Burton, the creative director at Alexander McQueen, was named Designer of the Year for a portfolio which included Kate Middleton's wedding dress. Another alumnus of the Central Saint Martins school of fashion, Stella McCartney, was presented with the Red Carpet award, while Victoria Beckham, won the Designer Brand award.
Sir Paul Smith, who only turned to fashion after an accident ruined his dream of becoming a professional cyclist, was recognised with the Outstanding Achievement in Fashion award. Since opening his first shop in Nottingham in 1970, he has built an international empire which now has 12 different collections stocked in 35 countries.
Charlotte Dellal received the hotly-contested Accessory Designer of the Year award for her glamorous footwear label Charlotte Olympia.
Awards: the big winners
Designer of the Year: Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen
Burton, the creative director of Alexander McQueen, was rewarded for continuing the legacy of her mentor as well as her role in the fashion spotlight as designer of Catherine Middleton's wedding dress – and of course the scene-stealing outfit of her maid of honour, Pippa.
Designer Brand: Victoria Beckham
Beckham has not let a lack of formal training stand in the way of growing a business that has received critical and commercial success. Accepting the award from Marc Jacobs, the Spice Girl was teary, giving thanks to Jacobs "as a friend and a great designer." Beckham also praised her creative team, the British fashion industry, and her family saying. "Without David I wouldn't have the courage to do what I'm doing."
Red Carpet Award: Stella McCartney
McCartney wore her own design to receive the award from her friend Kate Hudson, who aged 21 wore Stella for her first red carpet appearance - which landed her on every worst dressed list. Luckily for the likes of Kate Winslet and Rihanna, McCartney was not to be deterred.
New Establishment Award: Christopher Kane
The Scottish designer produces hit collections season after season, and was presented with the inaugural New Establishment Award for the visionary designs he creates for his own label – proving himself as one to watch in the five years since its inception.
Emerging Talent Award – Ready to Wear: Mary Katrantzou
Reinforcing London's global reputation as a hothouse for young creatives, the Greek-born Central Saint Martins graduate's ornate prints have taken the fashion world by storm.