POETIC FASHION: Marion Gauban Cammas and Ulysse Meridjen, the two designers behind edgy fashion brand Proêmes de Paris, have won the Grand Prix de la Création de la Ville de Paris for emerging designers, a prize delivered by the Paris mayor’s office since 2003.
At the ceremony, held under the gilded ceilings of the Hôtel de Ville on Thursday, Frédéric Hocquard, deputy to Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo in charge of cultural diversity and nightlife, summoned the duo to the stage alongside Pierre-François Le Louët, president of the Fédération Française du Prêt-à-Porter Féminin, or the French Federation for women’s wear.
Proêmes de Paris received a donation of 10,000 euros delivered both by the Paris office and the Paris Creation fund, supported by the federation, Galeries Lafayette and private donors.
“Being a young designer in Paris is not like being a young designer in New York or London,” said Meridjen. “Paris has the biggest fashion shows, the biggest houses, the highest concentration of talent. To be awarded a prize by the city of Paris is a really big deal.”
“And also a perfect reference to our name,” added Gauban Cammas.
Created in 2014, Proêmes de Paris (“proêmes” is a contraction of “poème” and “prose”) references the literary heritage of Paris. In addition to its sophisticated silhouettes, crafted out of luxe materials, the label’s most recognizable piece is its “Les Filles Qui Lisent Sont Plus Sexy” (“Girls who read are sexier”) T-shirt, which was launched in combination with a series of performances around the act of reading.
The same evening, women’s wear designer Karine Lecchi went home with the Grand Prix de la Création de la Ville de Paris for established designers, winning a prize of 12,000 euros.
Karine Lecchi and Proêmes de Paris were singled out from over 250 applicants by a jury of fashion professionals presided over by Hocquard. Past recipients of the prize for emerging designers include Coralie Marabelle in 2017 and Amélie Pichard in 2012, while Christine Phung, currently creative director of Leonard, received the prize for established designers in 2011.
“The federation supports this initiative since 2013 because it helps promote diversity,” said Le Louët. “Diversity — of aesthetics, of influences, of business models, of brand levels, of origins, of managers and of designers — is an essential part of creation. And nowhere is it better expressed than in Paris.”
Aside from fashion, two other categories, Design and Métiers d’Art, revealed their winners. Charlotte Kauffman, the young embroiderer who won the Métiers d’Art Prize for emerging designers, stepped on stage to join Lyne Cohen-Solal, president of the Institut National des Métiers d’Art.
“As Anni Albers said, when a design is painted, it is art. But when it is embroidered, it is considered to be crafts,” said the artist. “Even today, it’s still a struggle to get embroidery to be recognized as métiers d’art. This prize is a welcome encouragement.”