PARIS – Pierre-Yves Roussel is no stranger to shepherding growing brands. As head of the Fashion Group at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton for more than a decade, he helped to reinvent so-called second-tier brands, including Céline and Loewe, with new strains of creative leadership.Having officially handed the baton to Sidney Toledano, Roussel told WWD he hopes to take “a couple of months” off to “refresh” himself before taking on a new assignment in the sprawling French group.However, it looks like spare time may be in short supply, as ANDAM will today name the member of the executive board of LVMH as the designated mentor of this year’s winner of the main Fashion Award, succeeding Francesca Bellettini, chief executive officer of Yves Saint Laurent.The mentorship spans two years of guidance on matters including financial, legal, marketing, communications and production. Roussel is reprising the role he held in 2012, when he advised the French-born, Tokyo-based designer Julien David.Nathalie Dufour, ANDAM founder and director, said that now that all major luxury brands are backing the initiative, it will be asking past mentors to come back for a second turn. She noted that Roussel has been a member of the organization’s jury several times.“He has seen ANDAM grow, so it’s like a big family,” Dufour told WWD. “It was nice to ask him again. He is very sensitive, very involved.”In a statement, Roussel said: “For a designer, launching his or her own label is an extraordinary entrepreneurial journey but also a major challenge. Thanks to the unique support from the key players in fashion in France, ANDAM rewards and helps the most promising designers in developing their brands from Paris. I am very happy to be once again the mentor of the ANDAM fashion awards.”ANDAM will also reveal that OBO, an event planning group with clients including Victoria’s Secret, Elie Saab and Cartier, and the Première Classe Tuileries accessories trade show are joining the consortium of sponsors of the prize alongside companies including Chanel, LVMH, Galeries Lafayette and Swarovski.Now in its 29th edition, the competition is composed of four prizes: the main award, which comes with a cash prize of 250,000 euros; the Creative Label Prize, valued at 100,000 euros; the Accessories Award, with a grant of 50,000 euros, and the Fashion Innovation Prize, endowed with 30,000 euros.The Creative Label Prize, which replaces the First Collections Prize, seeks to reward a French company in the fashion sector, giving the brand the means to grow and access to an international audience. Dufour said the prize has been widened to include companies that are slightly more established.“The idea is really to speak to young companies that are French, but that may be slightly more advanced in their business development,” she explained, noting that the previous First Collections denomination was more restrictive.Natalie Kingham, buying director of Matchesfashion.com, will help the Creative Label prize winner for one year to define and implement a digital and communications strategy.Galeries Lafayette will buy the winner’s next two collections and display them in an exclusive space inside its department stores. It will also help the winner develop a product and merchandising strategy aimed at department stores, via a one-year personalized support program.The main fashion award winner will receive a donation from Swarovski of crystals worth 10,000 euros to use before the end of the year. Candidates must own a French company or, if based outside of France, be prepared to set up a French company in the same year as receiving the prize.The Institut Français de la Mode, or IFM, is offering finalists of the Creative Label and Accessories prizes access to a 12-month training program covering such topics as identity, supply chain, production, image and communication.OBO will mentor the finalists and winners in the enhancement of their brand identity and development of their image, and advise them in the execution of their events. Meanwhile, Première Classe Tuileries will highlight the finalists with a dedicated event during Paris Fashion Week.ANDAM, the French acronym for the National Association for the Development of the Fashion Arts, is now welcoming applications, with the finalists revealed in May. Winners are to be revealed on June 29.Founded in 1989 by Dufour with the support of the French government and with the late Pierre Bergé as president, ANDAM has been a springboard for an array of designers who would go on to achieve international recognition, including Martin Margiela, Viktor & Rolf, Christophe Lemaire and Jeremy Scott.Guillaume Houzé, director of image and patronage at Galeries Lafayette, was elected president of ANDAM late last year.
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