Every year during Paris Fashion Week, 20 emerging designers are given the opportunity to present their work to a panel of international fashion experts, including Anna Wintour, in the hopes of winning the annual LVMH Prize, which comes with a 300,000-euro grant. This season, coronavirus concerns led LVMH to cancel the prize’s celebratory cocktail event, but as Wintour herself emphasized, young talent needs support now more than ever. The show must go on! And on Tuesday, eight finalists were finally announced.
“This year, once more, the semifinalists impressed us with their creativity and their commitment to creating clothes that are respectful of the environment,” said Delphine Arnault, executive vice-president of Louis Vuitton and the founder of the prize.
Five of the finalists design womenswear and three menswear. For the first time ever, a Bulgarian designer has made it to this stage in the competition. There are also designers from France, Britain, America, South Africa, Japan, and more.
The winner will be announced on June 5 in Paris. This year’s jury is particularly exciting: Rihanna of Fenty, Virgil Abloh of Louis Vuitton, and Stella McCartney are new to the panel, joining designers like Jonathan Anderson of Loewe, Maria Grazia Chiuri of Dior, Nicolas Ghesquière of the men’s collections at Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy, and Kris Van Assche of Berluti.
Past finalists include talents like Grace Wales Bonner and Marine Serre, who’ve gone on to have exciting careers of their own.
Below, see the names of this year’s finalists, before they hit it big.
Priya Ahluwalia is a British menswear designer based in London. She’s inspired by the outfits her Punjabi grandfather wore in the 1970s, as well as 1990s rave culture.
Casablanca is the label of Charaf Tajer, a French-Moroccan menswear designer based in London. Tajer was formerly associated with the French brand Pigalle.
Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena met at Central Saint Martins, where they bonded over a love of skirts. Chopova sources fabrics from her parents’ village in the mountains of Bulgaria’s capital, and these fabrics are then draped from a thick leather buckle belt with rock-climbing carabiners.
Nicholas Daley is a British menswear designer based in London. He is inspired by his Scottish-Jamaican roots as well as his family’s love of music. His parents ran Scotland’s first reggae club in Edinburgh in the 1970s.
Peter Do is a (shy) American womenswear designer based in New York. He won the LVMH Graduate Prize after graduating from F.I.T. in 2014. He then went on to work at Phoebe Philo’s Céline and then Derek Lam. He now has a strong focus on suiting.
Sindiso Khumalo is a South African womenswear designer based in Cape Town. Her focus is in creating modern sustainable textiles with a strong emphasis on African storytelling.
Supriya Lele is a British-Indian womenswear designer based in London. “I want to create a modern feminine dialogue between two cultures which focuses on the female body and has an openness and lightness within it,” she told Vogue of her work.
Tomotoka Koizumi is a Japanese womenswear designer based in Tokyo. He is known for his cotton-candy creations, which were the talk of New York Fashion Week last winter.