Boodles, Rolls-Royce, Ozwald Boteng OBE and Neal’s Yard Remedies Winners at the Walpole British Luxury Awards 2023
On Monday night, 450 industry creatives, executives and influencers gathered at the annual
Walpole British Luxury Awards to celebrate Britain’s luxury brands and individuals as well as those who define the exciting creativity, innovation and global cultural relevance of Great Britain.
Held at The Dorchester, Mayfair and hosted by actress Lydia West, the ceremony was attended by, Lady Amelia Spencer, Sabrina Elba, Gareth Pugh, Charley Caseley-Hayford, Ozwald Boateng OBE, Bay Garnett, Eunice Olemode and June Sarpong OBE.
Walpole’s Chief Executive, Helen Brocklebank said: Since their inception in 2001, the Walpole British Luxury Awards has celebrated the super charged combination of culture, creativity and commerce that is a signature of British luxury’s global appeal. Fast forward to this evening’s awards and it’s clear that the defining mix of arts and business is still the bedrock of luxury’s success. In a country renowned for its storytelling, every Walpole award has a tale to tell of individual triumphs, of Britain’s extraordinarily rich and diverse history and of the talent, ingenuity, creativity and innovation of its people. My congratulations to tonight’s winners and thanks to all our sponsors and partners without whom this evening would not have been possible.”
As the only event dedicated to celebrating the very best of Britain, the Walpole British Luxury Awards recognise the contribution luxury and high-end businesses make to the UK. The British luxury sector is worth over £48 billion, contributes to nearly 160,000 jobs to the UK economy, and Walpole is committed to promoting, protecting, and developing the industry’s unique qualities.
The ‘Visionary Award’ which recognises and celebrates an individual in the British luxury sector who has shown exceptional skills and expertise throughout their career all while inspiring others, was received by Torsten Müller-Ötvös as he prepares to step down as CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, recognising and celebrating the extraordinary transformation the company has undergone during his 14-year tenure, including increasing annual worldwide sales from around 1,000 cars per year to over 6,000 in 2022.
The first of three Great Creative Briton awards which honour the creatives whose talent has enriched the cultural landscape in the UK was presented to actor, advocate and campaigner David Harewood OBE. Best known around the world for his roles in big budget American productions such as Homeland, Supergirl and Blood Diamond, it is his groundbreaking work creating essential conversations around race and mental health that have had such exceptional social impact here in the UK.
Two very different but significant contributors to the jewellery industry took home awards. Boodles, founded in 1789 in Liverpool and one of the few remaining family-owned jewellers on London’s Bond Street, scooped the prestigious ‘British Luxury Brand of the Year’ in recognition of a record-breaking financial year and its commitment to traceability, sustainable growth, and support of local communities in South Africa. Boodles launched a new campaign this year, with twin sisters Eliza and Amelia Spencer as the faces of the brand and who presented the award on the night.
Fine jeweller Anabela Chan is the first fine jewellery brand in the world to champion laboratory-grown gemstones with high jewellery designs, artisanal craftsmanship and a focus on ethical and sustainable innovations. For this, its future-thinking, and a willingness to disrupt, the brand was celebrated with the ‘Game-Changer’ Award.
Neal’s Yard Remedies took home the ‘Sustainable Luxury Brand of the Year’ award, voted for by an independent panel of judges all of whom are experts in their field. The brand was recognised for demonstrating its consistent progress in applying sustainability best-practice to all aspects of its business and for its visible campaigning including its longstanding project to protect biodiversity and bee populations in the UK.
Ozwald Boateng OBE became the youngest tailor to establish on Savile Row at the age of 28, blending traditional British tailoring with influences of colour from his Ghanaian heritage. He served as Creative Director of Menswear at French fashion house Givenchy, created costumes for films, including James Bond and designed the new uniforms for British Airways. He has just launched his first furniture collaboration with iconic Italian brand Poltrona Frau and was this evening presented with a ‘Great Creative Briton Award’.
Embracing luxurious staples crafted with unwavering quality in Derbyshire, clothing brand Sunspel received the ‘Made in the UK’ award after demonstrating a strong commitment to the development of British manufacturing and accelerated expansion of the brand outside of the UK, which is now sold in 145 countries around the world.
After an unprecedented number of entries for the ‘Made in the UK’ award, the awards panel couldn’t ignore the number of brands committed to artisanal making, craft skills and investment in people outside of London. That inspired a new award, ‘Luxury in the Making’, which was presented to Lincolnshire based furniture and lighting company Matthew Cox, whose designs has won it a slew of celebrity fans and which has British-made hardwired into its mission statement. Investment over the past year in two new metalworking workshops, as well as helping to safeguard craft skills in this country by accommodating numerous work experience placements and apprenticeships secured this inaugural award.
Browns Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel & Sir Paul Smith were awarded the ‘Creative Collaboration’ award for the launch of the Sir Paul Smith Suite which is testament to seamless interplay of design, fashion, and hospitality. An inspiring, creative haven using the brands designer’s trademark use of colour and stripes, the suite offers unique luxury experience to guests.
One of the truly unique things about the companies that make up the UK luxury sector is that they operate not just in the commercial sphere, but also are an essential component of our cultural scene and in celebration of that the ‘Cultural and Social Contribution’ award went to Royal Academy of Arts and Claridge’s for a long-term commitment to nurturing next generation artistic talent in a meaningful way. Created by two storied London institutions utilising their collective power, it not only offers monetary support but also much-needed exposure in one of the world’s most high-profile neighbourhoods at Claridge’s new Art Space.
In recognition of her groundbreaking artistic achievements which include being the first Black British female artist to have their work purchased by the Tate, be elected to the Royal Academy and to be selected to represent the United Kingdom at the Venice Biennale, Sonia Boyce OBE RA, received a ‘Great Creative Briton Award’.
The ‘Artistic Pioneer’ Award this year went to the multitalented director and choreographer Wayne McGregor CBE whose work exploring movement and its creative expression spans some of the most important international dance companies around the world and here in the UK as Resident Choreographer at The Royal Ballet. He is also the Artistic Director of Dance at The Venice Biennale and a prolific collaborator with co-creators including Max Richter, Margaret Atwood, Radiohead, Jamie XX, Olafur Eliasson, Tacita Dean, ABBA and Daniel Lee at Burberry.
Tonight, 12 exciting, young businesses that have completed Walpole’s 2023 Brands of Tomorrow mentoring programme for up-and-coming luxury brands were recognised for their completion of the scheme. They represent the very best in British entrepreneurship – maverick spirit, creativity and determination run through them all.
The black-tie event began with a Laurent-Perrier champagne reception, followed by a three-course dinner of Burrata French Beans, Jerusalem artichoke, crisp shallot to start, Breast of Corn-fed Chicken, truffle jus, creamed corn, French beans, and wild mushroom. Rounded off with Raspberry and fig Tart, fig compote, olive oil and raspberry sorbet. The goody bags were provided by AKT, Wolf, Investec, Monpure, Miller Harris, Fortnum and Mason and Charbonnel et Walker.