The US has the CFDA/Vogue Fund, which honors emerging talent and France has ANDAM Fashion Awards. Founded in 1989 by Nathalie Dufour and Pierre Bergé (best known for being the late Yves Saint Laurent’s partner) in conjunction with the French Ministry of Culture -- the prize was conceived of as a way of recognizing and assisting young designers in the French and international fashion scene. Winners walk away with both prize money and mentoring.
Bergé said at the 2009 ANDAM ceremony regarding the importance of the prize, “Nowadays even fashion designers have to accept that while there is still creation there is also the economy, marketing and lots of other things.”
The first winner of the prize in 1989 was Martin Margiela and ever since winners have read like a who's who of up-and-coming design talent -- Victor & Rolf won in 1994, Jeremy Scott won in 2000, Gareth Pugh won in 2008, Giles Deacon won in 2009 and last year Turkish Hakaan Yildirim took the prize (pictured).
When Giles Deacon won he said, “It’s amazing to receive this award in this amazing building with so many incredible people here from Monsieur Bergé to Monsieur Grumbach to Monsieur Picart to everybody form LVMH to Gucci Group to Saks, the whole crew from L'Oréal, to be chosen, to get the award is just fantastic.” While the prize money is certainly a great reward, finalists of the award also get great exposure to fashion's heavyweights, which certainly only sweetens the prize.
This year there are six finalists: Adam Kimmel (the New York-born menswear designer), Anthony Vaccarello (a womenswear designer and veteran of Fendi), Commuun (a label founded in 2005 by two Japanese designers), Jeremy Laing (a Canadian-born womenswear designer who shows in New York), Palmer/Harding (a London-based label known for their statement shirts) and Yiqing Yin (a Vietamese-French stylist turned designer). Perhaps most interesting about the list, since international designers are eligible, is that none of the CFDA emerging designer favorites like Joseph Altuzarra or Prabal Gurung made the cut.
Each of the finalists will have the opportunity to present their project to a jury, which includes Pierre Bergé, LVMH’s Delphnie Arnault, Nadja Swarovski, journalist Hilary Alexander, Opening Ceremony’s Humberto Leon and French Vogue’s Emmanuelle Alt. Following a vote, the winner will be announced June 28th.
Following the selection a ceremony will be held the following day in the magnificent gilded salons of the Ministry of Culture in Paris, formerly the home of Jérôme Bonaparte, youngest brother of Napoleon, and a one-time King of Westphalia and Marshal of France. Not too shabby.
And what exactly is at stake? 200,000 euros, 10,000 euros of crystals from Swarovski to be used in the winner’s spring-summer 2012 collection, mentorship for two consecutive seasons from Ralph Toledano (former CEO of Chloé) and use of Paris’ Galeries Lafayette “La Suite” space for the installation of a showroom.