4 posts tagged "Bronwyn Cosgrave"
To make a star, or perpetuate one? That was the question the judges of this year’s Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize asked themselves as they deliberated over a list of 77 contending designers at New York’s Le Bernardin on Wednesday afternoon. After two hours of discussion, this year’s panel of judges, which included Calvin Klein’s Francisco Costa (pictured, right), Thom Browne, Marchesa’s Keren Craig, Giovanna Battaglia, Elizabeth Saltzman Walker, Derek Blasberg, Shala Monroque, and Lauren Santo Domingo, had whittled the list down to five names in a miraculously seamless manner.
“Let me tell you, last year it was not that easy—there was definitely shouting,” said Bronwyn Cosgrave of the panel she assembled last year. (The group included the likes of Manolo Blahnik and Daphne Guinness, and gave the top prize to Thomas Tait.) “I’m excited by this year’s list because at the end of the day, I started this project to help young designers get their name out there and to support them.” That mission became a clear group initiative after judges repeatedly brought up familiar names like Cushnie et Ochs, Ohne Titel, and Jen Kao, and then eventually removed them from the running for the $40,000 prize and the opportunity to show during Paris Fashion Week. Instead, the group chose lesser-known names like jewelry label Anndra Neen, Sofia Sizzi’s womenswear line, Giulietta, Siki Im (pictured, left), and Setareh Mohtarez (an unknown who judges repeatedly mentioned for the beautiful sculptural work). The only debatable exception to the rule was the fifth finalist: Julian Louie. “He interned for me at Calvin and he’s extremely talented,” Costa said of the designer. In addition to working with Costa, he’s received guidance from Santo Domingo, and recently finished a shoe collaboration with Aldo. The winner will be announced in late October.
Photo: Ian Gavan / Getty Images
“Everyone involved in this was my A-list first choice,” Bronwyn Cosgrave declared of the panel of judges she assembled to select the five short-listed semifinalists for the first Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize at London’s Dorchester Hotel. That sentiment, one hopes, extends to said semifinalists, too. But Cosgrave could be forgiven for a little enthusiasm for the judging side of the table: It included Daphne Guinness, Manolo Blahnik, Giles Deacon, milliner Stephen Jones, Yasmin LeBon, Vanity Fair‘s Elizabeth Saltzman Walker, and ES fashion director Gianluca Longo. Despite the varied group, “it was a remarkably smooth decision process,” Blahnik said. “We saw the number of applications and hung our heads. But it turns out that we were largely unified despite our different personal aesthetics.” His co-panelist Guinness (pictured above with her fellow jurors) agreed heartily. “I take refuge in the arts,” she said. “It was wonderful to have us all agree so easily, so that I could realize that I am not crazy and my values are shared.”
The semifinalists are the English knitwear designer Louise Goldin; the Greek-born, London-based Mary Katrantzou; Hermione de Paula, who created a surprisingly dainty collection called “I Heart Elizabeth Berkley”; the sculptural footwear designer Chau Har Lee; and Thomas Tait, from Canada. The unifying factor—maybe the only one—is a commitment to craftsmanship and a preference for the conceptual (even, occasionally, at the expense of commercial viability).
But Guinness, for one, was all in favor. “Craftmanship needs to return,” she declared. “I am always overjoyed to see students who love to stitch their own seams. We need better things, not more. We should not pollute the world with meaningless, unused things when we can make and support things of rare and precious beauty.” As the only international fashion prize set to roam to a different fashion capital each year—at the site, not by coincidence, of a Dorchester Collection hotel; next year’s will be in New York—the award should do just that. The winner, to be announced in November, takes home a £25,000 prize and a free event at any of the Dorchester Collection’s properties.