Iris van Herpen is the winner of the 25th edition of the ANDAM Prize. The announcement was made at a cocktail party at the Hotel France-Amérique this evening in Paris, but some Twitter users were in early on the announcement. A stray Tweet made its way online before the jurors—among them first-time members including chairman and CEO of Kering Fçois-Henri Pinault, Estée Lauder’s John Demsey, Condé Nast France president Xavier Romatet, and Caroline de Maigret—adjourned for the day.
In her second year competing for the prize, Van Herpen beat out Fausto Puglisi (who in addition to his own line also creative directs Emanuel Ungaro), Yiqing Yin, Rad Hourani, Steven Tai, Jean-Paul Lespagnard, and the Études Studios trio. The Dutch 29-year-old will receive 250,000 euros and mentorship from Pinault. “It was a real privilege [to participate],” Pinault told Style.com. “The ANDAM Grand Prix is so important for the promotion of young designers in Paris. I didn’t expect this level of maturity, frankly. It was really an honor.” He went on: “I will be mentoring Iris for two seasons, and I intend to give her access to any of our brands that will help her in her project. There’s a great deal of opportunity for her.”
Van Herpen caused a mini-sensation at her first-ever ready-to-wear show for Fall ’14 last March when she suspended three models in shrink-wrapped plastic garbage bags in what she described as commentary on the commodification of the human body. Innovation is at the heart of Van Herpen’s work, and it was a key factor in her win today (as a jury member myself, I can vouch for that). “Until now, I’ve been focusing on couture to give myself the freedom and time to work on new materials and new production methods,” she said, after accepting the prize from Pinault and ANDAM’s Nathalie Dufour. “But I really feel like [my experiments] are ready to translate into the ready-to-wear now.”
Coperni’s Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, who claimed Nicolas Ghesquière and J.W. Anderson as their designer icons, won the 75,000 euro First Collection prize. Meyer, the designer half of the duo, is already a step ahead of some of the competitors in today’s Grand Prize category. He has a business partner in Vaillant. There’s no substitute for creativity. But, pointed out jury member Federico Marchetti of The Corner, “a business partner is something every designer needs.”