Style.com
Subscribe to Style Magazine
4 posts tagged "Bronwyn Cosgrave"

The New Kids On The Block: The Dorchester 2011 Semifinalists

-------

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: Mark Von Holden/ Getty Images

Tait Takes the Dorchester

-------

Thomas Tait and models

Thomas Tait and models

“I can’t afford to go home,” designer Thomas Tait admitted yesterday at the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize awards in London, referring to the cost of a return flight to his native Montreal. Not to worry. A few minutes later, Tait received the evening’s top honors and his ticket, as it were: the £25,000 inaugural prize—bestowed by an industry who’s-who of judges including Manolo Blahnik, Bronwyn Cosgrave, Giles Deacon, and Daphne Guinness—and a chance to stage an event (and presumably, order room service) at the Dorchester Collection hotel of his choice. While Tait and his fellow finalists, Louise Goldin, Mary Katrantzou, Hermione de Paula, and Chau Har Lee, all share a penchant for craftsmanship, British Vogue‘s Alexandra Shulman, another judge, stressed that function was as critical as form when it came to picking a winner. “There is no point making precious objects that nobody can do anything with,” she said of the possibility of rewarding a collection for its sheer artistry. Tait, who trained with Montreal design darling Denis Gagnon, keeps a utilitarian edge to his careful cutting, creating a compelling tension between the body and the forms enveloping it. (In a nice bit of symmetry, Gagnon celebrated his ten-year anniversary yesterday with an exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.) Juror Yasmin LeBon was particularly gushy over Tait’s work: “It is gorgeous and brilliant to wear,” she said definitively. “I want more.”

Photo: Ian Gavan / Getty Images

Meet The 2010 Dorchester Collection Prize Semifinalists

-------


“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.

Photo: Courtesy of the Dorchester Collection

Remembering McQueen At LFW

-------

No surprise that London Fashion Week began on a somber note, following the tragic death of Alexander McQueen. At Naomi Campbell’s Fashion for Relief fundraiser for Haiti, she, Kate Moss, and Annabelle Neilson (McQueen’s muse and dearest friend) strode down the runway in McQueen creations, which then went onto the auction block. When Topshop chief Philip Green bid £100,000 for Kate’s dress, it proved too much for the model, who broke down into tears in Neilson’s shoulder. At the official opening of the week the following day, BFC Chairman Harold Tillman held a moment of silence for the late designer.

Spirits were higher at the breakfast launch for the new Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize. McQueen’s great friend Daphne Guinness and her fellow judges—including Giles Deacon, Stephen Jones, Manolo Blahnik, and Yasmin Le Bon—will decide on the winner of the £25,000 award, which was masterminded by former British Vogue features editor Bronwyn Cosgrave. The slate of shows for the day was already full—Aminaka Wilmont, Hannah Marshall, Felder Felder, and Caroline Charles were all on the schedule—but it was the Sass & Bide show that had most people talking: Its invitation was made of very jagged, broken (real) mirror. That’s the sort that should come with a warning—at least for the poor mailmen.

Photo: David Fisher/Rex/Rex USA