The ACF Annual Gala Dinner 2016 at LSO St Luke's, London
Held at the charming LSO St Luke's in London, this nearly 300 year-old building played host to the ACF Annual Gala Dinner 2016. Attended by Executive Board, Governors and Member Designers the event was co-hosted by Caroline Rush (CBE), Chief Executive Officer of the British Fashion Council. Commencing with cocktails and festive choral singing, the numerous international VIP’s, celebrities, influencers and luminaries from the world of fashion enjoyed a gourmet meal and fine wines set in the stunning interior of this celebrated London landmark. In keeping with the season, the décor drew inspiration from Tchaikovsky's ballet,the Nutcracker and a suitably yuletide setting. Following, welcome speeches and the opening address, the evening included leading entertainment and performances. Reinforcing its role in recognising key talent, the evening also included the ACF Awards which pay homage to leading individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to fashion . This years recipients have been of exceptional caliber including Anna Wintour, Suzy Menkes, Caroline Rush and Eva Chen among many others. During the evening, legendary Italian couturier Renato Balestra was formally made a member of the ACF and Gala's special guest, the Grand Couturier Jean Paul Gaultier was presented with an award for outstanding contribution to the global couture industry. In his acceptance speech, Gaultier recalled how, while working for Pierre Cardin in Manilla in the Seventies, he had been dispatched to the Kenzo ( ACF Honorary President) show. "To me the show of Kenzo was an introduction to Asia, was something fabulous, very modern. I can say Kenzo has influenced me a lot." The ACF also welcomed new member designers into the Federation including Portuguese couturier João Rolo and Australian prodigy Paolo Sebastian. Celebrating the success of this year’s pre- launch of COUTURíSSIMO, guests enjoyed a special fashion show featuring the latest collection and pieces specially designed for this ACF brand. As a project that is completely backed by the Asian Couture Federation, it aims to support global haute couture designers to expand their base “beyond just couture by translating and diffusing their lines", explained the ACF's and COUTURíSSIMO's Founding President, Dr Frank Cintamani in his Gala speech, adding that 'among the ACF’s objectives is to protect our designers and to promote and inspire the rest of the industry."