Now in its fourth year running, the winner of this year's coveted LVMH prize - created to honour and support young fashion designers around the world - was announced on friday at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. Out of 1,200 designers who applied for the prize (the largest in the awards history) and 8 finalists, 25-year-old Belgian-French designer, Marine Serre, took home this year’s award, which was presented by Delphine Arnault and Rihanna.
Graduating with highest honours from the Academy of La Cambre Mode in Brussels in June 2016, Marine Serre out-rivaled talented designers including Yoon Ahn (Ambush), Kozaburo Akasaka (Kozaburo), Cecile Rosted Bahnsen (Cecilie Bahsen), Nabil El-Nayal (Nabil Nayal), Molly Goddard, Maria Kazakova (Jahnkoy), and Antonin Tron (Atlein). Also a current finalist for this year’s ANDAM Prize and taking part in the prestigious Hyères festival earlier this year, Serre currently works at Balenciaga in Paris, having already put in time at numerous luxury houses including Alexander McQueen, Maison Martin Margiela and Christian Dior, working alongside Raf Simons.
The young talent was lauded for her Fall/Winter ‘17 collection entitled ‘Radical call for love’, which was an exploration of ties between the Arab and Western worlds and a response to the recent terror attacks in Paris and Brussels. Fusing contemporary sports cuts and aesthetics with 19th century luxurious Arabic silhouettes and Islamic inspired motifs, Serre’s contemporary relevance in terms of both design and concept has proven to be a cut above the rest.
“We found Marine to be very impressive, from her unique point of view to the fact her product is very modern, as well as the confidence she displayed at the age of 25 when walking into a room and talking about her ideas with some of the most established designers in the world,” said Ms. Arnault.
Selected by an expert panel of eleven industry figures - comprising designers Jonathan Anderson, Nicolas Ghesquière, Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, Humberto Leon, Carol Lim, Phoebe Philo and Riccardo Tisci, and Delphine Arnault, Jean-Paul Claverie and Pierre-Yves Roussel of LVMH - Marine Serre will receive a €300,000 grant and a year-long mentorship from executives at the French luxury conglomerate. Nicolas Ghesquière said the decision was "quite unanimous", praising the designer for "really speaking of this generation” with the athletic aesthetic and romantic femininity of her collection.
The judges also awarded the Special Prize to Kozaburo, the New York-based label helmed by Japanese designer Kozaburo Akasaka, landing him a grant of €150,000 and 12 months of mentoring from LVMH for “his delicately deconstructed menswear”.