Thomas Tait Is Top Dog, But Everyone’s a Winner at LVMH-------
The atmosphere at the LVMH headquarters was electric this afternoon, as reporters, photographers, finalists, jury members, and designers all mingled before the big reveal of the inaugural LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers winner. London-based Canadian designer Thomas Tait, who won the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize back in 2010, came out on top. “I was shocked,” he told us while sitting next to his gilded trophy. “I thought, Did that just happen?” Tait is now looking at 300,000 euros of financial support and a year’s worth of business mentoring and production advice, and naturally we were curious as to his next move. “A nice dinner, a good night’s sleep, and I need to call my mom and dad,” he said. But after that, he might take another step toward that handbag he’s been thinking about. Menswear, though, is “not such an emergency.”
The ten runners-up (formerly eleven, but Julien Dossena shuttered his line Atto to focus on his work at Paco Rabanne) were not forgotten—and they were awarded for their efforts. After taking the podium, LVMH’s Delphine Arnault first presented three students, Flavien Juan Nuñez, Peter Do, and Teruhiro Hasegawa, with 10,000-euro grants plus one-year internships with Dior, Céline, and Givenchy, respectively. Then, Arnault announced that the jury, which included designers Karl Lagerfeld, Nicolas Ghesquière, Marc Jacobs, Humberto Leon, Phoebe Philo, Raf Simons, and Riccardo Tisci, had decided to create a special prize of 100,000 euros each for two runners-up. Those honorees were Shayne Olivier of Hood by Air and Indian sisters Tina and Nikita Sutradhar of Miuniku. Currently based in Mumbai, the latter are moving their camp to London next year, with plans to show at London fashion week.
Even those who walked away without a hefty purse were grateful. “It’s already been incredible in terms of exposure and meeting people—it’s like you win right out of the gate,” mused finalist Chris Gelinas. When asked about the final presentation, in which each designer, accompanied by two models, got ten minutes in front of the jury, he replied, “It felt a little like the Last Supper—all these important people lined up at one long table. I remember thinking, What did I just say to Karl Lagerfeld?“
“I really appreciated the very different personalities and expressions. It was very interesting,” said jury member Ghesquière. “They all really have a vision, a story to tell, an expression, and a signature. That’s formidable. As for the jury, there was a real camaraderie,” he added, before slipping out of the room and back to work. Lagerfeld noted that the best part of the process was “having everyone all together, we never see each other because we’re working. But I hate that I want everybody to win and that’s not possible.”
“I am thrilled. It was so interesting and original. All eleven candidates were of such excellent quality; each had their style,” offered Arnault. “They are tomorrow’s great talents.” Asked if she thought the contest would draw even more than this year’s 1,221 candidatures, she replied, “I hope so!”