London-based designer and the breakout star of the London’s men’s wear scene, Grace Wales Bonner, has won the much coveted LVMH 2016 prize for emerging talent.
The talented 25-year-old designer who has become known for collections that explore black culture and identity, is the third London-based designer, as well as also being the third graduate of Central Saint Martins in a row to win the prize.
Introduced in November 2013, the LVMH prize is one of the most lucrative in the industry, where viable candidates consist of designers younger than 40, who have produced at least two ready-to-wear collections. This year, more than 1,000 hopefuls applied for the prestigious title.
With a grant of 300,000 euros (about $335,000) up for grabs, Ms. Wales Bonner walked away with the substantial amount, as well as a year of coaching and mentorship from LVMH executives, with the announcement having been made on Thursday by the French luxury group at a ceremony held at the Louis Vuitton Foundation art museum in Paris.
The jury for the prize included Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, Phoebe Philo and Jonathan Anderson. Ms. Wales Bonner was awarded the gold-star prize by Léa Seydoux, the French film actress and a brand ambassador for Louis Vuitton.
Inspired by the 1930 crowning of Haile Selassie as emperor of Ethiopia as well as the traditional ceremonial dress used to push the boundaries of contemporary tailoring, Ms. Wales Bonner’s LVMH prize win was announced just days after showcasing her Spring 2017 collection at London Collections Men to rave reviews.
“Finely tailored and gender fluid, Ms. Wales Bonner’s work was the subject of an exhibition, “Fashion in Motion,” at the Victoria and Albert Museum last year, when she won the British Fashion Council’s emerging men’s wear talent award.”
The seven other finalists for the LVMH prize were: Aalto, by Tuomas Merikoski; Alyx, by Matthew Williams; Brandon Maxwell; Facetasm, by Hiromichi Ochiai; Koché by Christelle Kocher; Vejas, by Vejas Kruszewski; and Y/Project by Glenn Martens. Mr. Kruszewski, a young Canadian designer, was also awarded a special jury prize of €150,000, as well as a year of mentorship.
Images courtesy of Vogue.co.uk