Idris Elba took to the stage at London's Royal Albert Hall to honour late designer Virgil Abloh at The Fashion Awards on Monday.
The Luther actor delivered a heartfelt tribute to the Louis Vuitton and Off-White designer, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 41 following a private battle with cancer, at the start of the ceremony by telling the audience, "I lost a friend, his wife lost a husband, the fashion industry lost a legend, and the world lost a special human being."
He went on to recite the Maya Angelou poem, When Great Trees Fall, and concluded, "Those who know Virgil know he would want us to have a good time. Tonight's entire show is dedicated to Virgil Abloh's life."
The tributes to Abloh continued throughout the evening, with British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful speaking with emotion about the loss onstage.
"The shock of his passing is as fresh as it is devastating. As a leader of change, the impact of his work cannot be overstated," he said before reading out the manifesto Abloh wrote to go with last year's Louis Vuitton menswear show. "As a Black man in a French luxury house, I am well aware of my responsibilities. Rather than preaching about it, I hope to lead by example, and unlock the door for future generations. I believe in making my mark with poise, style, and grace."
Actor Billy Porter, who hosted the ceremony, called Abloh "an inspiration" in his opening remarks and Kim Jones dedicated his Designer of the Year award for Dior Men and Fendi to his longtime friend.
Abloh was also recognised as one of five leaders of change in terms of creativity alongside Jones, Gucci's Alessandro Michele, Balenciaga's Demna Gvasalia and JW Anderson's Jonathan Anderson. Before he died, Abloh had recorded a message to be broadcast alongside his fellow leaders of change during the ceremony.
"Part of my practice within design, fashion, art, and culture is to keep these doors open for future generations, that I've been able to open for myself," he said in his message, reports Vogue.
Source: Eamonn McCormack/BFC / Contributor / Getty Images Entertainment
The full list of winners at The Fashion Awards 2021 are as follows:
Designer of the Year: Kim Jones
Trailblazer Award: Alessandro Michele
British Independent Designer: Simone Rocha
Isabella Blow Award: Ib Kamara
BFC Foundation Award: Nensi Dojaka
Leaders of Change, Creativity: Virgil Abloh, Alessandro Michele, Demna Gvasalia, Kim Jones, Jonathan Anderson
Leaders of Change, Environment: Bethany Williams, Gabriela Hearst, Phoebe English, Priya Ahluwalia, Stella McCartney
Leaders of Change, People: Edward Enninful, Harris Reed, Kenya Hunt, Samuel Ross, Telfar Clemens
Special Recognition Award: Dylan Jones
Outstanding Achievement Award: Tommy Hilfiger.