By  on January 17, 2014

PARIS — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has corralled 40 prominent figures from retail, publishing and image creation to help it choose the first recipient of its new LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize.

Experts on the panel, whose task is to whittle down the field to 10 finalists from 30 contenders during Paris Fashion Week next month, include Natalie Massenet, founder and executive chairman of Net-a-porter; Marigay McKee, president of Saks Fifth Avenue; Adrian Joffe, chief executive officer of Comme des Garçons; Carla Sozzani, founder of 10 Corso Como; Linda Fargo, senior vice president, fashion office and store presentation, Bergdorf Goodman, and Sarah Andelman, creative director and purchasing manager of Colette in Paris.

Fashion editors including Carine Roitfeld, Numéro’s Babeth Djian, Love’s Katie Grand, Visionaire’s Stephan Gan and Dazed Group’s Jefferson Hack are to join the likes of photographer Patrick Demarchelier, makeup artist Pat McGrath and models Natalia Vodianova and Mariacarla Boscono.

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The prize, which comes with a grant of 300,000 euros, or $409,000 at current exchange, plus a year of coaching, is the brainchild of Louis Vuitton’s Delphine Arnault, a talent scout and advocate for young designers at the luxury giant her family controls.

Already, 439 budding designers from Asia, Africa, South and North America and Europe have applied, with more expected before the Feb. 2 closing date. An internal committee at LVMH is to select the 30 contenders for the expert panel.

Then, a jury stacked with designers — including Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, Nicolas Ghesquière, Raf Simons, Phoebe Philo and Riccardo Tisci — is to select the victor in late May after reviewing collections of the 10 finalists.

The competition is unique in its global scope, online-only registration and nominations — and a gradual elimination process that will award entrants with invaluable exposure on the Internet.

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