Catwalk kings and queens: Fashion victors: the style Oscars

The British Fashion Awards, which took place at the Victoria & Albert Museum last night, honoured the achievements of a variety of our best and brightest designers. Susie Rushton reports
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The Independent Online

Marios Schwab New Designer

Victoria Beckham has been spotted wearing a sexy black Marios Schwab number, but don't let that put you off: the half-Greek, half-Austrian designer and his destined-for-fame name is one of British fashion's most exciting talents. Schwab's clingy dresses have been described as instant plastic surgery. With nods to the 1980s body-conscious designs of Azzedine Alaia and Herve Leger, Schwab uses lacy inserts and even metal plates to emphasise feminine curves. Born in Greece, Schwab studied at Esmod in Berlin, followed by the obligatory stint at Central Saint Martins. He's only been out of college for three years but has already presented catwalk shows. Expect to see many more of his hourglass-forming creations on red carpets very soon.

Vivienne Westwood Red Carpet Designer

The first lady of British fashion, Westwood is famed the world over for her innovative and much-imitated approach to clothing the female form. By channelling 18th century history, high culture and then throwing in a large dose of pure invention, Westwood has sculpted the silhouette in a manner that is attention-grabbing (generous decolletage is key) and unconventional. And while she, along with her former partner Malcolm McLaren, is responsible for creating the punk uniform of the 1970s, Westwood can also do arch-glamour. Among her red-carpet fans are Dita Von Teese, Kirsten Dunst and even the usually wholesome Gwyneth Paltrow.

Joan Burstein CBE Outstanding Achievement

At a cursory glance the British fashion landscape might seem to be dominated by high-street chains, department stores and glossy French or Italian designer shops. But it is multi-brand boutiques like Browns, which stretches like a mini empire along South Molton Street, London, to which true fashion-followers flock. Founder Joan Burstein, who was appointed CBE this summer, opened Browns in 1970 and is famed for championing British designers including Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan and John Galliano when they were fresh out of college. Known as Mrs B, she was instrumental in introducing the Comme des Garcons, Giorgio Armani, Donna Karan, Sonia Rykiel and Jil Sander labels to London shoppers. Burstein's signature front-row expression, one of patient amusement, is the best in any fashion capital.

Stuart Vevers for Mulberry Accessories Designer

The British leather goods brand had already begun to turn around its fortunes when Vevers, 32, arrived in 2005 as creative director. Thanks to a killer combination of Keira, Kate and Sienna's endorsement, and sturdy designs capacious enough for any woman's worldly possessions, the company's Roxy, Jacquetta and Bayswater bags all had "it" status. But Vevers can take the credit for pushing Mulberry further up the cool barometer this year. Previously an accessories designer for Louis Vuitton and Bottega Veneta, Vevers has an edge. His chain-link "Gemma" bag is a current hit, and by adding reptile skins, Vevers has seduced the American market. For next spring, Vevers has worked with Giles Deacon on fierce metal-spiked bags.

Giles Deacon Designer of the Year

The golden boy of London fashion, Deacon has risen to the top of the pile since launching his debut collection in 2004. Known for his glamorous dresses and bold prints, Deacon has often said that he aims to dress a woman older than the average model, so elegant caftans and even skirt suits are often seen on his catwalk. His label is simply called "Giles". Deacon studied fashion at Central Saint Martins and first worked for French iconoclast Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, followed by a plum position in 1998 as head designer for Milanese luxury goods brand Bottega Veneta. That role didn't last, but Deacon made a solo comeback. With the assistance of super-stylist Katie Grand, he persuaded the likes of Linda Evangelista to walk in his debut show. Since then, Deacon's collections have matured, and he is thought to have been in the running for several high-profile Paris jobs, including Givenchy. Not that you'd know it to meet him: Deacon is one of British fashion's most self-depreciating designers. He is also one of its tallest.

Kim Jones Menswear Designer

Forget Savile Row spit-and-polish. At the bleeding edge of London fashion is menswear designer Kim Jones, a young designer known for his sunny, pop-inspired prints and sports-styled casualwear. Another Saint Martins alum (he graduated in 2001), Jones has managed to diversify his distinctive aesthetic for mass-selling collaborations with sports brands such as Umbro, special ranges for high street giant Topman, and his own limited-run T-shirt designs. His appropriation of the iconic minutae of recent youth subcultures - ravers, punks, straight edgers, preppies - makes the kind of achingly hip street fashion that flourishes in London and Tokyo (where he's massive). Still in his early 30s, Jones now shows his own-label collection in Paris and recently guest-edited an issue of i-D magazine.

Jonathan Saunders Fashion Enterprise Award

Known for his vibrant, angular and abstract prints inspired by anything from the Bauhaus to MC Escher, the 29 year old Scottish designer has showed up on the London fashion radar since graduating from Saint Martins in 2004. Despite his youth (in the grand tradition of get-em-while-they're-young British fashion), Saunders has already clocked up a Vogue cover and has dressed Kylie and Samantha Morton.

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