“For this edition I’m really happy because you can see people again; meet them, see their collections up close, see the shapes and volumes, and touch the clothes… this is really an essential part of the LVMH Prize.” So said Delphine Arnault as the prize she created in 2013 —full name LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers—returned to IRL business yesterday after a period of pandemic-enforced judging from home. “Even though we are used to seeing collections on screen by now, it’s so much stronger to see things for real,” she added.
Continuing through today, the semi-finalists of this year’s LVMH Prize, selected from around 1,900 applicants, have set up stall on Avenue Montaigne. In what is the fashion industry equivalent of a mass speed dating event, they meet a constant stream of editors and other professionals.
Charlotte Knowles, co-founder of finalist KNWLS said of the experience so far: “We were a little bit nervous this morning. But everyone has been super-friendly and it’s great to meet some really important people in the industry.” Her creative partner Alexandre Arsenault added: “And suddenly being able to put a face to a name: there are so many people we’ve heard of or even chatted to but not met before.”
Once this round of creating schmoozing is done, a group of 80 experts in different fields of industry expertise will submit their list of favorites. This will determine the list of eight finalists, who will return to Paris on June 2 for this year’s final at the Fondation Louis Vuitton. There each will deliver a presentation to a jury including Arnault, her father Bernard, group advisor Jean-Paul Claverie, veteran executive Sidney Toledano and designers from across the LVMH group. “They have models wearing the collection and they explain their brand and their philosophy,” said Arnault. “Then we all have a lunch. And we vote. To have this moment, once a year, where all the designers are together with my father is lovely. It’s great also to understand each one’s perspective on creativity and design and why they support one designer finalist. And I think also for the young designers to be able to meet Nicolas Ghesquière, say, or Stella McCartney and hear their point of view on their work is something unique.”