On Sunday, March 17, The Daily Front Row hosted the 5th annual Fashion Los Angeles Awards in the Crystal Ballroom of the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel.
Honorees, presenters, and guests including Lady Gaga, Kate Hudson, James Marsden, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Alicia Silverstone, Joan Smalls, Candice Swanepoel, Courtney Love, Stella Maxwell, Jaime King, Busy Phillips, and Derek Blasberg walked the red carpet before making their way to the bar for the pre-show cocktail hour where they enjoyed Whispering Angel rose, beer from Kronenbourg, and water courtesy of FIJI Water.
Outside, on the lawn, Maybelline set up a fun photobooth, inviting guests including to recreate Faye Dunaway’s iconic 1977 poolside post-Oscar moment with a gold-dipped FLA statuette in place of an Academy Award.
Meanwhile, Sunglass Hut took over the small grotto nearby, inviting guests to try on and post their favorite designer shades, and Morrocanoil, which hosted a glam suite at the hotel before the event, had a cheeky activation of their own on the lawn: a stand where guests could press a button and have champagne delivered to them through a tiny window by liveried waiters.
Inside the ballroom, PrettyLittleThing set up a full bar festooned with pink roses and even pinker balloons and Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim and HG Contemporary erected an art installation featuring the work of contemporary French sculptor CÉVÉ.
Following the cocktail hour, guests took their seats for the show, which was hosted by the lovely and breath-takingly funny Celeste Barber. Although Barber admitted to being a bit rattled by Lady Gaga’s presence in the front row, she never ceased to charm the audience and had the crowd of hundreds howling with laughter throughout the night.
Kate Hudson received the first award of the evening for Fashion Entrepreneur for her company Fabletics — the fastest growing e-commerce fashion brand in history. Her childhood friend Jennifer Meyer was on hand to present her with the award. Meyer shared a story from their high-school days about the time Hudson was suspended from school for wearing a sheer slip as a dress a la Courtney Love. Apparently, Hudson and Meyer both desperately wanted to dress like the Hole front-woman and, thus, found themselves fangirling hard at the awards, where Love herself was seated in the front row.
Upon accepting her award, Hudson called her work with Fabletics the most rewarding professional project of her life and encouraged all the budding entrepreneurs in the room to follow their guts and focus on authenticity above all else.
Next, Rosie Huntington-Whitely took the stage to present the award for Designers of the Year to Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, the talented duo behind Monse and Oscar de la Renta. During their acceptance speech, Fernando recalled the late de la Renta’s advice that one should always have fun [at work] and thanked his partner Kim for keeping things fun and for teaching him so much on their journey together.
Katie Grand presented the night’s Fashion Icon award (presented by Maybelline New York) to Adriana Lima, gushing about the supermodel, whom she has had the privilege of working with for more than 15 years, and recalling the time she accidentally threw away a giant diamond bellybutton ring of Lima’s while on set. The diamond was a gift from Lenny Kravitz and Lima helped Grand sift through the garbage until it was found. Lima thanked Grand for her support over the years, let it be known in no uncertain terms that just because she is no longer working for Victoria’s Secret, doesn’t mean modeling days are behind her. Far from it. And thank goodness for that!
Russell James was next to the podium, presenting the award for Launch of the Year to Candice Swanepoel for her ethical and sustainable swim line, Tropic of C. Swanepoel was as charming and gracious as ever in accepting her award, although she did admit to being more than a little bit nervous speaking in front of such a large group of people.
Courtney Love presented the award for Creatives of the Year to Katie Grand and Derek Blasberg for their revolutionary #MovingLOVE video magazine, which has accumulated more that 44 years of viewing time over its brief life so far thanks more than 50 videos featuring the likes of Kate Moss, Bella Hadid, David Beckham, and Ashley Graham. During her acceptance speech, Grand surprised everyone when she disclosed that the name of her magazine is actually an homage to Courtney Love. Who knew?!
Larsa Pippen presented the award for Best Digital Retailer to PrettyLittleThing, which has experienced absolutely mind-boggling growth over the last couple of years thanks in part to their sexy and affordable collaborations and partnerships with stars like Kourtney Kardashian, Hailey Bieber, and Ashley Graham. PrettyLittleThing CEO and founder, Umar Kamani was unable to attend the ceremony himself, but sent the lovely Malika Haqq to accept on his behalf.
The award for Style Curator (presented by Sunglass Hut) was given to stylist Ilaria Urbinati, whose celebrity clients include Rami Malek, Chris Evans, Bradley Cooper, and Armie Hammer. Urbinati’s freind and client James Marsden was on hand to present the award and thanked Urbinati for teaching him everything he knows about fashion.
Joan Smalls presented the Jewelry Designer of the Year award to Valerie Messika, whose modern diamond jewelry designs have made her a favorite of fashion heavy-hitters like Natalia Vodianova, Irina Shayk, and Gigi Hadid, with whom she recently collaborated. Messika thanked her husband for all his support over the years and dedicated her award to him, calling her trip to Los Angeles and accepting an award on stage in the presence of Hollywood’s best a brightest, a dream come true.
Lady Gaga was next to the stage, presenting the award for Hair Artist of the Year to her friend and long-time collaborator Frederic Aspiras.
Gaga warned the crowd that she had a long speech prepared and she was not kidding! Over 17 minutes, Gaga sang Aspiras’ praises, saying that he is the only man she trusts to color her hair, that he is like a brother to her, a true artist, and revealing that her song Hair was actually inspired by Freddie and the work they have done together. Aspiras accepted his award with tears in his eyes, recounting the struggles he faced as a gay Asian teen, being relentlessly bullied for his love of hair styling. He talked about his mother, who saved up all her money to open her own beauty salon, and, of course, about his close relationship with Gaga. “I am the American dream,” he said at the end of his speech. Yeah, you are!
The penultimate award of the night was presented by Celeste Barber to Slick Woods for Model of the Year. In her speech, Woods recalled sleeping at a bus stop not far from the Beverly Hills Hotel just five years ago, before a chance encounter and entree into the world of modeling changed her life.
Sia presented the final award of the night, Fashion Visionary, to Christian Siriano. The notoriously camera-shy musician presented the award without her signature giant wig, saying that she was here not as Sia the performer, but as Siriano’s friend. Even so, she did serenade him with a little song she wrote to mark the occasion, praising him for his devotion to making fashion a more inclusive and inviting place.
After the awards show, guests adjourned to the ballroom’s antechamber for champagne and passed hors d’oeuvres before heading out into the night with their gift bags full of goodies from Maybelline New York, Moroccanoil, WelleCo, Messika, Julie Vos, Celeste Barber, Kronenbourg 1664, and PrettyLittleThing. Oh, what a night!
A very special thank you to all of our incredible partners for helping make the 2019 Fashion Los Angeles Awards such a huge success: Maybelline New York, Moroccanoil, Sunglass Hut, PrettyLittleThing, Fiji Water, HG Contemporary, Whispering Angel, and Kronenbourg 1664.