PARIS — “Creativity is not enough,” according to Bruno Pavlovsky.
“Production and commercialization are indispensable aspects of business today,” said Chanel’s president of global fashion, who is to advise the winner of the 2015 ANDAM Fashion Award on matters involving financial, legal, marketing, communication and production issues.
Pigalle Paris – the French streetwear label whose colorful, handmade designs have caught the attention of A$AP Rocky and Rihanna – scooped the coveted award, which comes with an endowment of 250,000 euros, or $276,788 at current exchange.
The prize will enable the label’s self-taught designer, Stéphane Ashpool, to grow his brand, which he launched in 2008.
The winning package also includes an exclusive collaboration with online retailer thecorner.com, plus 10,000 euros, or $11,071, worth of crystals from Swarovski.
Pavlovsky told WWD during a brief award ceremony at the Hôtel France-Amériques in Paris that it was Pigalle’s use of color and the positive vibe emanating from the brand that really seduced him. “I think we are going to have a lot of fun together. Stéphane already has the ideas, we can help him bring some structure into them,” he said.
In addition to Pavlovsky, this year’s judging panel included Stefano Martinetto, chief executive officer of Tomorrow London; Xavier Romatet, Condé Nast France president; John Demsey, group president of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.; model Caroline de Maigret; Anne-Sophie von Claer, deputy managing editor of Le Figaro, and designer Haider Ackermann.
Pavlovsky said, “the combination of Stéphane’s streetwear with our couture is intriguing. The exchange will go both ways.”
Ashpool assured he was “not going to spend the money stupidly on a bigger show.”
“I already went to the Opera Garnier last time. I cannot do bigger. I want to develop an in-house atelier, a proper atelier and open it to the young generation. I always like to share my vision and it’s what the jury felt today,” said the designer, who enlisted a bunch of Parisian street kids (he coaches them in basketball) to state his case before the judging panel.
“I do a lot to push the youth, they also walk in my shows. The thing is: We have a very high quality of craft in France as you know, but it’s getting difficult to interest the younger generation,” said Ashpool. “They all want to be designers or actors, and I think we can do something to make them want to create fabric and be behind the creation, not just marketing and fast [money]. I want to help [forge] a new [guard] of people who are happy to sew – because this is also fashion.”
Ashpool said he was eager to improve the quality of his own line, do more handmade designs, and combine craft with technology “to bring this elegant, sporty, Parisian ethnic man” to the streets. “Part of my investment will be to develop more fabrics in-house,” he said.
While he wholesales to a few dozen accounts, Ashpool said he plans to sell mainly in his own shops, of which he owns two – one in Tokyo and one in Paris, with eyes on developing e-commerce, as well.
“I make around 1 million bucks. I could sell more if I wanted, every store is asking for more, but I don‘t run after quantity and wholesale, because the more you do this the more you cut the quality and vibrant energy, and I want to spread the good vibes,” he said.
Raised in an arty environment, with a sculptor father and dancer mother, Ashpool said he naturally sees “life in color.”
“It’s about diversity, music and the ethnicity of my friends. My parents have always been surrounded by a lot of people from the fashion industry, very eccentric people wearing Claude Montana, Thierry Mugler and Paco Rabanne, and me – I was there from the street, the mix of the two I thought was genius. And I always read haute couture reviews, it’s what inspired me most. With Chanel, it’s a match made in heaven. I’m in heaven.”
The other finalists for the main prize were Anrealage, Umit Benan, Pallas Paris and Vêtements.
ANDAM’s First Collection prize — valued at 90,000 euros, or $99,643 — went to Léa Peckre, who won against Étienne Deroeux, Gauchère and Journé.
Peckre, who counts 10 points of sale, is to receive commercial and strategic mentorship from the Tomorrow showroom, as well as an exclusive space in Galeries Lafayette’s flagship in Paris to present two collections. Financial support for their production is part of the deal.
Charlotte Chesnais went home with the competition’s inaugural Accessories prize, which comes with a cash endowment of 30,000 euros, or $33,214. Nadja Swarovski, a member of Swarovski’s executive board, is to mentor the former protégé of Nicolas Ghesquière for one year.
Pierre-Yves Roussel, chairman and ceo of LVMH Fashion Group, one of the award’s sponsors and also a jury member, said he was particularly happy about this prize. “Accessories are such a big part of fashion. Everybody does it. We can’t even think of it as part of ready-to-wear. And it’s not just bags – we had two jewelry designers nominated,” he said of Chesnais and Annelise Michelson, “and one bag designer,” he added, referring to Hugo Matha.
“I’m telling you jewelry is the next big thing,” Roussel smiled.
“I’m a one-woman show, so the most reasonable thing for me to do would be to grow my team by at least 100 percent,” mused Chesnais, who has made a name creating delicately sculptural pieces, and who runs her business alone.
Past winners of ANDAM, the French acronym for the National Association for the Development of the Fashion Arts, include Julien David, Alexandre Mattiussi of AMI and most recently Iris van Herpen, who used the prize money and the mentoring from François-Henri Pinault, chairman and ceo of Kering, to develop her ready-to-wear line.
“Because I really focused on couture before, most of the money went to setting up the production for my ready-to-wear, expanding the atelier, and focusing on the shows here,” said Van Herpen.
She said the number of boutiques carrying her clothes more than doubled in one year following the award.
“Mr. Pinault really tried to help me in the different aspects of my business such as sales and press, but the most helpful to me was the production side. Kering is such a big organization. I went to Italy to see it and saw how they combine production with sampling, which is much more efficient, and then the contacts he provided – he really opened the doors for me,” enthused the designer, who subsequently employed a similar system and is looking into the possibility of working with the same facilities as the Kering brands.