EYES ON THE PRIZE: Designers and editors are no strangers to tight deadlines, but Francisco Costa, Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, along with Elizabeth Saltzman, Giovanna Battaglia and Derek Blasberg found themselves under the gun — and on camera — Saturday night as they descended on the Beverly Hills Hotel to determine the winner of the second annual Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize. After a runway presentation (filmed as part of next season’s “America’s Next Top Model”) and a 15-minute deliberation period, the $40,000 grant and a Plaza Athénée show during Paris Fashion Week went to New York-based accessories brand Anndra Neen, founded in 2009 by sisters Phoebe and Annette Stephens, who edged out finalists Giulietta, Julian Louie and Siki Im. “That was tough, and we’re still fighting about it,” said Costa, who was literally sweating under the bright camera lights after the decision was revealed. “It was excruciating,” said Saltzman of the close competition. “All four finalists are stars, so it’s painful to have to choose just one, and under time pressure.”

The event, which was allotted two hours including three cocktail segments that weren’t filmed, was doubly tense because the aspiring runway models, competing in Cycle 18 of the reality show, were also under scrutiny from “ANTM” judge Kelly Cutrone, who sat front row. Also in the audience were Monique Lhuillier, Gregory Parkinson, Yotam Solomon, Jasmin Shokrian, Cameron Silver and Angelique Soave.

This story first appeared in the November 1, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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