Atlein's Antonin Tron.

SURF’S UP: Atlein, the young Paris-based label founded by surfing devotee Antonin Tron, has caught the main wave. Having limbered up as winner of the ANDAM First Collections prize in 2016, the designer on Friday, at a ceremony at the French Ministry of Culture in Paris, scooped the top prize of the 2018 ANDAM fashion awards.

The prestigious award comes with an endowment of 250,000 euros plus two years of mentoring from LVMH Group executive committee member Pierre-Yves Roussel, on matters including financial, legal, marketing, communications and production.

Roussel has been a member of the organization’s jury several times and played mentor to 2012 ANDAM winner Julien David.

Tron, who was also a semifinalist of the 2017 LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, as part of his win will receive a donation from Swarovski of crystals worth 10,000 euros to use before the end of the year.

“It will allow us to take the business to the next step, it comes right at the time that we need it,” Tron told WWD, adding of the event: “It’s for young people, new ways of creating and making businesses; it’s the future.”

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, the French designer worked behind the scenes in Balenciaga’s studio under three creative directors — Nicolas Ghesquière, Alexander Wang and the brand’s current design head Demna Gvasalia — before launching his label in 2016.

Known for his “structured flou” jersey silhouettes based on explorations of the body, its tension, energy and movement, Tron cites British designer Jean Muir among his inspirations, with the landscape of France’s Atlantic coast also an influence for his sporty, sensual designs.

Sustainability is a key concern for the designer whose first two collections were made entirely from dead stock fabrics sourced from luxury brands.

The other contenders for the honor were A-Cold-Wall, Cecilie Bahnsen, Facetasm and Eckhaus Latta. Now in its 29th edition, the award is open to designers of any nationality who are based in France or are prepared to establish a business in the country in the same year as receiving the prize.

The recipient of this year’s Accessories Award, with a grant of 50,000 euros, went to jewelry brand D’Heygere, which was up against PB 0110 and Worn Official.

Stéphanie d’Heygère, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp who has worked with brands including Dior and Maison Margiela, will receive mentoring from Nadja Swarovski, member of the Swarovski executive board.

“It’s a lot of recognition. The fact that people believe in it is a very nice push, because I only started six months ago. Obviously the money will also help a lot. Only positive things,” said d’Heygère who also designs the jewelry for A.P.C. and Y/Project.

The Fashion Innovation Prize, endowed with 30,000 euros, went to Colorifix, a British firm specializing in eco-friendly dye solutions. Clarisse Reille, executive director of DEFI, will provide mentoring for one year to help the firm develop its structure as well as access to consulting and support from professionals in the fashion technology sector.

The winner of the Creative Label Prize, which replaces the First Collections Prize, and has been widened to include companies that are slightly more established, was Ludovic de Saint Sernin. The other nominees for the award, worth 100,000 euros, were Afterhomework, Kevin Germanier and Neith Nyer.

The Belgian men’s wear designer before presenting his debut collection in Paris last June was a member of the design team at Balmain. Robert Mapplethorpe is a major influence for de Saint Sernin, whose erotically charged, languid creations sport details like high slits on trouser legs and cutouts at the hip.

Based between Paris and London, he’ll be spending time with some key players from the retail scene over the coming months. Natalie Kingham, buying director of Matchesfashion.com, will play mentor for one year, helping the designer define and implement a digital and communications strategy. France’s Galeries Lafayette, meanwhile, will buy the designer’s next two collections and display them in an exclusive space inside its department stores. It will also help de Saint Sernin develop a product and merchandising strategy aimed at department stores, via a one-year personalized support program.

Tomorrow London Ltd. will also offer de Saint Sernin a commercial and strategic mentorship. The designer will be invited to showcase his collection in the platform’s Paris and Milan showrooms. Tomorrow will also appoint a brand support sales manager to promote and sell the collection alongside the designer’s team.

And it doesn’t stop there. 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.

This year’s 24-strong jury was composed of fashion executives, editors, actresses and models, including Saint Laurent chief executive officer Francesca Bellettini; Hermès executive Guillaume de Seynes; Kering ceo François-Henri Pinault; LVMH Group’s Roussel; Yves Bougon, ceo of Condé Nast France, and Caroline de Maigret.

Former ANDAM laureates, Viktor & Rolf’s Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, who during couture week will fete the 25th anniversary of their brand, also participated in the voting. “I have the impression that the level is a lot more professional than when we took part in it,” said Horsting.

ANDAM, the French acronym for the National Association for the Development of the Fashion Arts, is financially supported by private and institutional partners including Chanel, LVMH, Galeries Lafayette and Swarovski, with OBO joining the consortium of sponsors this year.

The events planning group, whose clients include Victoria’s Secret, Elie Saab and Cartier, will mentor the finalists and winners to help enhance their brand identity and develop their image, and advise them in the execution of their events.

Meanwhile, Première Classe Tuileries will highlight the finalists with an event during Paris Fashion Week.

Each winner received a crystal trophy offered by Swarovski, and designed by Ana Khouri, the 2017 ANDAM Accessories Prize winner.

Founded in 1989 by Nathalie Dufour with the support of the French government and with the late Pierre Bergé as president, ANDAM has been a springboard for designers who would go on to achieve international recognition, including Martin Margiela, Christophe Lemaire and Jeremy Scott.

Guillaume Houzé, director of image and patronage at Galeries Lafayette, was elected president of ANDAM late last year.

Y/Project was the 2017 ANDAM victor and Glenn Martens, the label’s designer, also received a year’s worth of mentoring from Saint Laurent’s Bellettini, covering the creative and strategic dimensions of his business.

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