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August 30 2014

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One To Watch: Nolan Bellavance

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“Five judges, five different backgrounds, and we were all unanimous,” designer Antonio Berardi (pictured, right) told Style.com after crowning the first winner of the MADE for Peroni Young Designer Award this week. The clear-cut winner out of the ten Parsons fashion alumni competing, according to the five fashion insider judges (a team that included Berardi, Jenne Lombardo, Simon Collins, Roopal Patel, and Francesco Carrozzini), was up-and-coming Parsons BFA graduate Nolan Bellavance (pictured, left). “His work is incredibly modern, super-chic, and feels new. I think he could be a very big star,” says Berardi, dubbing him the next “Peter Pilotto or Proenza Schouler.” “His prints are unlike anything anyone else is doing,” he added, highlighting a print dress from Bellavance’s offerings as a favorite.

Those are certainly big shoes to fill, but to help get him going, Berardi will serve as Bellavance’s mentor (and the young star has received $25,000 to finance his debut collection and $20,000 from Peroni to produce the showcase of his first full-fledged collection at MADE fashion week). Until then, Berardi’s advice to the designer: “This is the beginning, so it’s time for him to explore who he is. With every new young designer, they have to get some things out of their system. Gradually you fall into your shoes.” As for Berardi, he is off to Milan and straight into fittings. “I didn’t even know fashion week shows had officially started here in New York,” he admits. When his clothes hit the catwalk in London, expect to see him toying with the proportions of separates. Plus, there are embroideries “that look like they are on fire,” he hints.

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