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5 posts tagged "Steven Tai"

An Inside Look at Iris van Herpen’s ANDAM Win


irisIris 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 “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.”

Photo: Courtesy Photo

2014 ANDAM Finalists Revealed



This morning, ANDAM announced its 2014 Fashion Prize finalists. Fausto Puglisi, Iris van Herpen, Steven Tai, Rad Hourani, Yiqing Yin, Études Studio, and Jean-Paul Lespagnard will compete for the award, the winner of which will be announced in Paris this July. Last year’s prize was awarded to menswear youngblood Alexander Mattiusi, while other alums include Giles Deacon, Richard Nicoll, and Gareth Pugh. The ANDAM Fashion Prize, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, offers designers a 250,000 Euro prize, a yearlong business mentorship courtesy of Kering’s François-Henri Pinault, and 10,000 Euros of Swarovski crystals. Another trio of talents, Coperni, Gauchère and Monographie, are up for the 75,000 euros First Collections prize. “I am very honored to be apart of this year’s finalists. The ANDAM Award is one of the most globally recognized support for designers over the last 25 years. I am incredibly excited (and a bit nervous too!) to present my work to the jury,” offered Steven Tai. Speaking of the jury, this years judges include Ellen von Unwerth, Caroline de Maigret, Condé Nast France president Xavier Romatet, and’s own Nicole Phelps, among others. Have a gander at some of the finalists’ designs here.


Photo: Courtesy Photos 

Designer Diary: Steven Tai’s Postcard From Hyères


Last weekend, London-based designer Steven Tai headed to the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography. As the 2012 winner of the festival’s prestigious Chloé award, the designer has a unique perspective on the fair. Here, he shares the details of his trip exclusively with

Steven Tai

Started in 1985 by Jean-Pierre Blanc, the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography has served as a launching pad for new talents for nearly three decades. This year, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, the creative directors of Kenzo and founders of Opening Ceremony, were the head of fashion jury for the twenty-ninth edition of the festival. As the winner of the 2012 Chloé award, I had the opportunity to show my Fall ’14 collection as part of The Formers exhibition, where previous winners of the festival present their latest work and touch base with the community that started their careers. This year, Kenta Matsushige took first prize in the fashion category, and I was lucky enough to get a first look at her collection.

Steven Tai

After disembarking the Eurostar, I made a quick pit stop at Totem’s new office in Paris to pick up my collection.

Steven Tai

A skip, a hop, a five-hour train ride, and a cab later, we arrived at the Villa Noailles, where the festival would take place the next day. The sunny weather was the first sign that this would be an amazing year.

Steven Tai

Off to the catwalk space to have a nosy peek at the rehearsal for this year’s finalists. And of course the first thing I did was have a look at the lineup…

Steven Tai

…then it was over to the runway. An amazing giant door that the models walked through reminded me of one of my favorite childhood stories, Alice in Wonderland.

Steven Tai

Back to the hotel and it was time to start some hand-sewing. Well, sort of…

Steven Tai

The next morning, finalists had to present their collections to the jury. You can see the collections lined up in the tent behind all the models in hair and makeup. There was tension—someone’s destiny was at stake. And everyone in attendance was there to support the ten finalists as they pursued their dreams.

Steven Tai

Before settling in to see the finalists’ collections, I wandered around the villa and saw the Kenzo exhibition getting installed. It featured a mixture of vintage and current Kenzo pieces on rotating mannequins.

Steven Tai

After the nerve-racking presentation to the jury, the finalists showed their collections to the press. I had the pleasure of sitting in on the press presentation. It was so interesting to hear other designers’ thought processes.

Steven Tai

After another night of hand-sewing and five coffees, the showroom was ready to go—and so was I! Continue Reading “Designer Diary: Steven Tai’s Postcard From Hyères” »

Steven Tai Plays for Keeps


Steven Tai

Karolina Kurkova was recently snapped in London sporting a white Steven Tai dress with navy floral appliqués—a pick that definitely helped edge him further onto the global fashion radar.

Tai, 29, who was born in Macao and mostly raised in Canada, belongs to a brand-new generation of designers who found their passion thanks to “I remember being a geek in high school, becoming interested in how dress indicated belonging and how to look the part,” he recalled. Around his senior year, someone introduced him to “It opened up a whole new world for me,” he said in his Paris showroom the other day. “It really turned me into a fashion person.”

For Fall-Winter, Tai’s story revolves around “a girl who broke up with her boyfriend but kept all his clothes”—which means tailored coats with a masculine vibe and slightly bigger, tomboyish silhouettes. Texture is a big focus for Tai, so he’s been developing techniques using laser-cut nylon, a raincoat material he works into flowers or uses as fringe, and sparkling tweed stitched in layers on jackets and coats. “We measure by the number of movies we watched while we are sewing,” he said, indicating one fringed trench. “This one is eight movies for four people.” He’s also been developing jacquards, which he uses in columns and cuts into fringe. “Jacquard is such a traditional fabric, it’s fun to be unsentimental about it,” he joked. Those flowers on Kurkova’s dress are another invention: They may look and feel like velvet, but in fact they are made of finely detailed, sliced embroidery.

Photo: Courtesy of Steven Tai

On Our Radar: Steven Tai


Steven Tai Spring '14

You may remember Steven Tai from Spring ’14′s VFiles show, where the 29-year-old Central Saint Martins graduate presented his crisp range of sporty, silkscreened looks. But winning a spot in the fashion platform’s debut runway event isn’t Tai’s only claim to fame. In fact, the talent, who’s based in London by way of Macao, had been making the rounds in Europe and Canada for over a year before the VFiles romp. In 2012, his visually simple but technically mind-boggling designs won the Chloe award at the prestigious Hyeres festival; he’s been invited to show everywhere from Berlin to Toronto; and he’s already amassed a healthy crop of international stockists, VFiles, Canada’s Holt Renfrew, and London’s 125 Brick Lane among them. Tai now seems poised for fashion stardom, so it’s somewhat ironic that he spent most of his childhood trying to escape the garment game.

“My family did manufacturing for very technical sportswear, like bicycle gear for triathlons,” Tai told by phone from Hong Kong, where he was researching techniques and textiles. “I grew up around seamstresses and, as a kid, clothing was like the last thing I wanted to do.” However, while earning his business degree in Canada, Tai had a revelation. “I realized that I wanted to do something creative, and at the same time, a friend actually introduced me to, and the archive just opened up this whole new world for me.”

Steven Tai Pre-Fall

He enrolled in London’s competitive Saint Martins’ BA program and, when the designer wasn’t in classroom, he did stints at Stella McCartney, Viktor & Rolf, Hussein Chalayan, and Damir Doma.

It’s easy to see that his mentors taught him well. Tai’s work is impeccably crafted using various, unexpected processes. For example, Spring ’14 incorporated laser cutting, silk screening, bonding, and puff paint accents, as well as a fractured pastoral motif. The latter was derived from photographs of a British bio-dome that were abstracted by artist Lola Dupré. “I’m always quite nostalgic for the past, so I wanted to start with something very traditional, and combine it with something technical and futuristic,” Tai explained of the lineup, which was inspired by cross-stitching and glitch art. As for his pared-down cuts, Tai offered, “At Saint Martins, nothing you can do is crazy enough. I learned from that, but it’s important to have a balance. Technology and textiles are the crazy parts of my collection. It’s all about these insane, complicated procedures, and the silhouette stays simple—otherwise, it gets a bit overwhelming.”

Fall ’14 will mark Tai’s first time presenting his wares in a Somerset House showroom at London fashion week. “The collection is a lot more deconstructed than last season,” he hinted. “The inspiration is shredded papers.” To tide fans over between the Spring and Fall drops, Tai has once again teamed up with Dupré, this time to create a range of Pre-Fall sweatshirts that will be available at select retailers and on Tai’s Web site this April. Priced between $296 and $740, the graphic, Swarovski crystal-embellished scuba jersey jumpers debut above, exclusively on

Photos: Courtesy of Steven Tai