The creative director of Calvin Klein discusses what it takes to get ahead in the fashion industry and who has mentored him in his rise to the top.
The Dorchester Collection recently announced the five designers shortlisted for its 2011 Fashion Prize at restaurant Le Bernadin. Those that made the cut include jeweler Anndra Neen, womenswear designer Giulietta, womenswear designer Julian Louie, womenswear designer Setareh Mohtarez, and menswear designer Siki Im.
The shortlist picks were decided upon by a group of judges that included design luminaries like Calvin Klein Creative Director Francisco Costa (who talked with us about judging the prize and what it takes to make it in fashion today), Thom Browne and Marchesa's Keren Craig, among others.
Costa told us he thought one of the biggest qualitiies of any winning designer was "hard work." "Sometimes designer go to a time where they have to compromise in order to fit in the stores; in order to compromise for the sake of retail purposes and to make it into a business. So I think that strength and the quality of one's originality, I think, speaks the loudest at the end."
As for Costa's own mentors, of course he name-checks Oscar de la Renta and Tom Ford, as well as Calvin Klein, who has fostered his talent and continues to do so.
The Dorchester Collection's grand prize winner will be announced in the fall, and will walk away with $40,000 and the opportunity to display their collection during Paris Fashion Week in 2012 at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée.
This is the second year that the Dorchester Collection is awarding a prize to a rising fashion star: Last year the winner was Canadian-born Thomas Tait who works out of London.
Chairperson of the prize Bronwyn Cosgrave told us, "What is so magical about the shortlist is that what it takes to make it right now is a fresh point of view. Certainly its about creativity, but you also have to be commercial. You have to be doing something that will turn the head of an expert such as those that we have gathered. We had 77 designers that applied and every one of them had something interesting to say. What we arrived at with the shortlist is a very good representation of what is going on in North American fashion."