“We will remember a man who put his energy in service of action and commit to causes he held dear, holding them aloft and carrying far, by going beyond individual interests,” ANDAM founder Nathalie Dufour said during a short speech at the dinner held in honor of Pierre Bergé on Wednesday.
Industry players and designers, including Chanel president Bruno Pavlovsky, Saint Laurent chief executive officer Francesca Bellettini; past ANDAM winners Alexandre Mattiussi, Gareth Pugh and Julien David, and the 2017 awardees — accessories designer Ana Khouri, Y/Project’s Glenn Martens and Audrey-Laure Bergenthal, ceo of fashion tech company Euveka — turned out at the Café de l’Esplanade, a chic restaurant overlooking the Invalides, for the dinner.
Bergé, who died Sept. 8, was ANDAM’s president since its foundation in 1989 by Dufour, and was instrumental in the creation and growth of the organization, which helped boost designers such as Mattiussi, Martin Margiela, Jeremy Scott and Anthony Vaccarello.
“Before the ANDAM, one idea was to launch a ‘Fête de la Mode,’ on the same model as the Fête de la Musique,” recalled Pascal Morand, executive president of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode. “Ultimately, it didn’t happen. Pierre Bergé always said that anyone can make music, but one couldn’t invent themselves a designer.”
Beyond the institutional role Bergé played for the talent springboard, he also maintained an open-door policy in the creative scene. Dufour would miss her regular meetings with Bergé and “his energy, our conversations and his way of being truly alive, always curious about people.”
“The ANDAM is beautiful encounters that are improbable on paper but work well, such as meeting Stéphane Ashpool, whose dedication and openness to fashion creativity I appreciate greatly,” said Pavlovsky, who presided over the jury at the 2015 edition, where he met Pigalle’s designer.
Whether they’d met the late industrialist in person or not, Bergé’s strong beliefs and personality made an impact on many in the fashion scene. “Receiving the award from his hands was a surreal experience,” said David, who came to Paris early to attend the dinner after wrapping the shooting of “It’s Party Time,” a film for his spring 2018 collection. “He was such a figure, but meeting him, he was very direct and his love of young creation shone through.”
Jean-Pierre Blanc, director of the Villa Noailles and founder of the Hyères Fashion and Photography Festival, met Bergé during a private visit to the villa and was struck by this man “with an extraordinary trajectory who often referenced Marie-Laure de Noailles, in his speeches or even in the house of Saint Laurent.” Blanc shared Bergé’s belief that “designers are those who make fashion, always.”
“Winning the ANDAM is a great responsibility,” said Khouri, who is doubling down with a showroom in Paris and mentoring sessions with Hermès’ Guillaume de Seyne. “We have to show what we’re made of, and what we’re able to get from this.”
Bergenthal, whose fashion tech company Euveka offers a pioneering digitally modulable mannequin, compared the award to “being baptized by the pope.” She hoped that the upcoming generation would “uphold the heritage left by visionaries such as [Bergé] who invented designer ready-to-wear and did everything to preserve its excellence.”
“Nowhere else in the world are designers supported in this way,” Martens said. “Nathalie and the ANDAM are a star that shines down on young designers, propels them forward and motivates them to go beyond.”
And although the path forward for fashion may still be in the mists, Iris van Herpen saluted the new innovation award. “Minds like [those of the ANDAM jury] judging what innovation is relevant at this moment in time — it makes the space between fashion, innovation and technology ever smaller.”