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Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli wins designer of the year at Fashion Awards

Accolade presented by Florence Pugh at London ceremony that Balenciaga creative head was absent from after ad controversy

Pierpaolo Piccioli, the creative director of Valentino, has won the designer of the year award at the 2022 Fashion Awards.

Piccioli was presented with his award on Monday night by the actor Florence Pugh, who regularly wears the Italian brand for red carpet events.

The star-studded ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall was hosted by the Queen & Slim actor Jodie Turner-Smith.

Tilda Swinton, Elizabeth Debicki, Golda Rosheuvel, Emma Corrin, Burna Boy, Sam Smith, Paris Jackson and Ashley Graham were present and Bella Hadid attended via a video link.

Jodie Turner-Smith on stage during The Fashion Awards 2022 at the Royal Albert Hall

Demna, the creative director of Balenciaga, who had previously been nominated in the designer of the year award category, was shunned. The brand did not attend and Demna’s (he does not use his surname) name was removed from the list of nominees.

The luxury fashion house recently apologised over adverts that showed children holding teddy bears in bondage gear and others featuring documents about child sexual abuse law as a prop.

Demna also issued a statement on Instagram on Friday where he personally apologised, stating it was “the wrong artistic choice of concept”.

The Fashion Awards nominees and winners are voted for by an international judging panel made up of more than 1,000 industry experts.

Tilda Swinton and Jean-Paul Gaultier at the Fashion Awards 2022 pre-ceremony drinks

Monday night marks the second time Piccioli has won the award – he first scooped the prize in 2018. “If I am reading this speech tonight, it means that dreams can take you to places you never expected to be,” he said at the time.

In 2021, sales rose 41% at the fashion house. It reported revenue of €1.36bn (£1.17bn), 3% higher than the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

Piccioli is widely credited with increasing demand, especially among Gen Z, a demographic highly coveted by the luxury market. Piccioli also teamed up with Pantone to create a special “Pink PP” shade featured on everything from miniature bags to couture gowns, inspiring endless high street iterations.

Other recipients on the night included Bella Hadid, who won model of the year, and Grace Wales Bonner, founder of the Wales Bonner brand, who was presented with the Independent British Brand award.

The designer Raf Simons, the disability activist Sinéad Burke and the former creative director of Gucci, Alessandro Michele, were among 15 industry figures honoured in the leaders of change lineup.

Elsewhere, the cofounder of the 1990s magazine Dazed & Confused, Jefferson Hack, was presented with a special recognition award for cultural curation by Tilda Swinton, while the stylist and creative director Katie Grand received the Isabella Blow award for fashion creator.

The British fashion industry also paid tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II through a segment entitled “the fashion salute show”, featuring London-based brands including Burberry, Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane.

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