PARIS — Here’s another hyphen for model-entrepreneur-coder-Instagram-sensation Karlie Kloss: Fashion judge.
She has been asked to join the expert committee for the third edition of the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, which today opens its site to applications for anyone under age 40 who has produced and sold at least two women’s or men’s ready-to-wear collections.
Up for grabs is a grand prize of 300,000 euros, or $325,000 at current exchange, plus a year of coaching from experts at luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, parent of fashion houses including Fendi, Givenchy, Berluti, Loro Piana and Kenzo.
Also joining the committee, charged with narrowing a pre-selected list of 30 contenders to 10 finalists, are Glenda Bailey, editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar in New York; Miroslava Duma, founder of the Russian fashion site Buro 24/7; makeup artist Peter Philips, creative and image director of Christian Dior makeup in Paris, and Katherine Ross, a fashion and art consultant based in Los Angeles.
They are to join 35 other journalists, stylists, buyers, photographers and other fashion professionals, among them Vogue Paris editor Emmanuelle Alt and retailers Carla Sozzani of 10 Corso Como and Sarah Andelman of Colette.
Unique in its online-only application process — and a jury stacked with LVMH fashion stars including Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs and Nicolas Ghesquière — the prize is expected to attract about 1,000 applicants, as it has for its first two editions, according to Delphine Arnault, the force behind the initiative and a key talent scout at family controlled LVMH.
Applicants and interested parties will discover a refreshed prize Web site designed to offer formerly shortlisted designers more dedicated online space.
“It’s available for everyone to be able to consult the designers that have been selected by our experts and the jury, to give exposure to these young talents. It’s an exciting tool,” Arnault told WWD in an interview.
The executive, second-in-command at Louis Vuitton, LVMH’s largest and most profitable brand, noted that the group’s experts are at the disposal of all shortlisted designers to answer questions, while the ultimate victor receives a full year of dedicated attention.
“We’re really there to help,” she stressed, noting that staffers continue to guide Thomas Tait, winner of the inaugural 2014 edition, “in the different decisions that he’s taking in his company.”
Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida, the Portuguese duo behind the London-based Marques’Almeida label, have seen their company grow “a lot” since bagging the grand prize in 2015, according to Arnault.
“We work with them on strategy, making sure they have the right collections plan, the right pricing for the products. They’re very proactive, very entrepreneurial,” she enthused.
French designer Simon Porte Jacquemus, who scooped a special jury prize of 100,000 euros, or $108,400, during his second attempt at the prize, is relying on LVMH experts to help him find a new space in Paris and to assemble the right team for his fledgling company.
As in past editions, LVMH plans to fly semifinalists to the French capital during Paris Fashion Week where they can display their wares at the firm’s Avenue Montaigne headquarters for the 40 members of the expert committee to inspect. Arnault also invites a broad slice of the fashion pack to a cocktail event, offering the young talents additional exposure and more networking possibilities.
“It’s a great opportunity to see so many people in the fashion industry that otherwise might take years to meet,” she said, noting department store executives, famous photographers, top editors, models and makeup artists stream through the designers’ booths.
“They get a lot of exposure to different aspects of the industry and they get more awareness for their brands. I think it’s a great opportunity for them,” she explained. “The idea is really to connect them with important people in the industry — people who can make a difference in their career.
“We are a leader in our industry and it’s our responsibility to help identify young talents and to help them grow,” she added.
To date, LVMH has hosted 55 young designers in Paris and handed out five awards. Applicants have come from 100 countries and included relatively established talents such as Simone Rocha and Demna Gvasalia of Vetements, who stage runway shows in Europe, to more obscure names such as Kiev-based Anton Belinskiy and Shangguan Zhe of Sankuanz, Xiamen, China.
In mid-June, the 10 finalists for the 2015 edition are to face the all-star jury. Besides Arnault, Lagerfeld, Jacobs and Ghesquière, the other members of the jury are Loewe artistic director Jonathan Anderson; Céline’s Phoebe Philo; Givenchy’s couturier Riccardo Tisci; Kenzo designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of Kenzo; Jean-Paul Claverie, an advisor to LVMH chairman and chief executive Bernard Arnault and the groups director of sponsorships, and Pierre-Yves Roussel, chairman and ceo of LVMH Fashion Group.
Also today, LVMH opens up applications for fashion graduates through May 15. Each year, LVMH awards three winners the chance to join the creative team of one of the group’s houses for a year, as well as a grant of 10,000 euros, or $10,830.
Prizes for young designers have multiplied in recent years as fashion’s biggest players jockey to do good and forge relations with potential future recruits.
LVMH also supports the ANDAM Fashion Awards; the International Fashion and Photography Festival in Hyères, France, and Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London.