Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Here Are The Eight Finalists For The 2024 LVMH Prize

The LVMH Prize has announced its list of finalists for the 2024 edition. They are: Aubero by Julian Louie from the United States, Duran Lantink from the Netherlands, Hodakova by Ellen Hodakova Larsson from Sweden, Marie Adam-Leenaerdt from Belgium, Niccolò Pasqualetti from Italy, Paolo Carzana from the United Kingdom, Pauline Dujancourt from France, and Standing Ground by Michael Stewart from Ireland.

“The semi-final of the 11th LVMH Prize highlighted the diversity and richness of the candidates’ creative approaches,” said Delphine Arnault, CEO of Christian Dior, who noted the designers’ commitment to both craftsmanship and sustainability. “I’m also delighted that two former semi-finalists of the Prize, Duran Lantink and Niccolò Pasqualetti, have reached the final,” added the executive. Lantink was first shortlisted for the 2019 edition of the Prize, which came prior to the wave of popularity and critical acclaim the designer has encountered since his Paris debut in March 2023. Pasqualetti was first a semi-finalist in 2022. Both designers are a testament to the importance of resilience, and also of how essential it is for designers to continue to hone their skills and refine their aesthetic.

The Prize has returned to eight finalists after last year’s nine, though this year they will compete for three prizes rather than the usual two. LVMH has added a Savoir-Faire Prize, which will reward excellence in craftsmanship, sustainability and technical innovation, in addition to the Grand Prize and the Karl Lagerfeld Prize.

Louie and Larsson, as well as Lantink, are known for the distinct ways in which they upcycle deadstock material and vintage or discarded items in their collections, while Stewart and Dujancourt have each developed considerate and sustainable approaches to producing and scaling their collections. The inaugural round of the Savoir-Faire Prize could be anyone’s game.

This list of finalists includes four men, three women and one non-binary individual. While it is one of the Prize’s most gender-inclusive finalists line-ups in recent memory, it is not the most ethnically diverse. None of the Asian, Black or Latin American designers in the semi-finalist round made the final cut this year. This year’s finalists represent only the US and seven European countries.

This year’s jury will include Jonathan Anderson, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Nicolas Ghesquière, Marc Jacobs, Kim Jones, Stella McCartney, Nigo, and Silvia Venturini Fendi, as well as Delphine Arnault, Jean-Paul Claverie, and Sidney Toledano. Pharrell Williams has been added to the roster, and Phoebe Philo, who served as a juror during her Celine years, will return this year.

The eight finalists will meet the jury on 10 September at the Louis Vuitton Fondation in Paris. The winner of the LVMH Prize will receive €400,000 (£344,000) and a one-year custom mentorship, the winner of the Karl Lagerfeld Prize €200,000 (£172,000) and a one-year mentorship, and the winner of the Savoir-Faire Prize €200,000 (£172,000) and a one-year specific mentoring program.

Monday, April 22, 2024

You Can Now Shop Vivienne Westwood’s Personal Wardrobe

It’s been less than two years since Dame Vivienne Westwood died and the chasm she left in the industry that she sought to change for the better is felt as keenly as ever. To put it plainly, there is no one who does what Westwood – an anarchic force who created fashion “to destroy the word conformity” – did. Nor dresses the way she decked herself out in radical, punkish tailoring.

Today: a ray of light for Westwood acolytes mourning the provocateur’s unapologetically bold personal image and everything she stood for. More than 200 items from Vivienne’s wardrobe, as selected by her partner in life and work Andreas Kronthaler, will go on sale at Christie’s via two auctions: a live sale in London on 25 June, and an online equivalent from 14 to 28 June. Even better? Those who perhaps don’t have the pocket money required to purchase pieces from Westwood’s Witches (autumn/winter 1983), Dressed to Scale (autumn/winter 1998) or Propaganda (autumn/winter 2005) collections will be available to view the pieces at a free public exhibition, entitled Vivienne Westwood: The Personal Collection, at Christie’s, London, from 14 to 24 June. Expect even the street style outside to be a brilliant homage to the straight-talking creative and campaigner.

“Vivienne was our heroine,” says Kronthaler, who has decreed that the proceeds of all fashion, jewellery and accessory sales will go to The Vivienne Foundation, Amnesty International, Médecins Sans Frontières and a Greenpeace project called The Big Picture – Vivienne’s Playing Cards. “This will be a unique opportunity for audiences to encounter both the public and the private world of the great Dame Vivienne Westwood and to raise funds for the causes in which she so ardently believed,” adds head of the sale Adrian Hume-Sayer. Her mission, as Kronthaler notes now, “to be different and to explode the system” continues in earnest – a true testament to Westwood’s unwavering commitment, which continues to inspire so many.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Italian Fashion Designer Roberto Cavalli Has Died At 83

Roberto Cavalli, the Italian designer who infused the print-led boho look with sex appeal, has died at 83. His passing was confirmed by the brand. “The Roberto Cavalli company shares condolences with Mr Cavalli’s family. His legacy remains a constant source of inspiration,” said Roberto Cavalli’s CEO, Sergio Azzolari.

By the time shows started to go digital (circa 2000), Cavalli was a well-established golden name in fashion; an elder, even, enjoying a second round of renown. He exuded Hefner vibes (minus the robe) when he took his fall 2001 bow smoking a pipe. (The designer was in fact asked to redesign the Playboy bunny costume in 2005.) By then the leonine Cavalli was living the good life, something that he achieved with braggadocio and brain power – and against the odds. In the context of Cavalli’s life story, the body worship and forthright sexiness of his work could be seen more broadly as an affirmation of life itself, which, from a young age he understood to be fragile.

Born in Florence in 1940, Cavalli’s maternal grandfather was a member of the Macchiaioli group of Italian Impressionists. His father, an anti-fascist who is thought to have been a mine surveyor, was shot by the Nazi forces when Cavalli was just three years old. The psychological impact was expressed physically through a stutter. “It was not easy for me to speak, the shock,” the designer told Luke Leitch in a 2011 interview. To support the family, his mother started sewing at home, taking in seamstresses to help her. At 17, a confident Cavalli enrolled at the Academy of Art in Florence to study art and architecture. There he met and fell in love with his first wife and the mother of two of his children, Silvanella Giannoni.

In 1960, after hand-painting some sweaters for a friend in the knitwear business, Cavalli was spurred to do something of his own with rather traditional floral prints, and started applying them to existing garments. It wasn’t long before the designer, wrote Leitch in a 2011 article for Panorama, “had graduated from teaching himself textile printing techniques on a borrowed ping-pong table to working on his own six-metre printing table (bought by his mother) in a rented garage, to building his first factory,” with some financing from a friend. That factory was flooded away in November 1966, not long before the Summer of Love, which Cavalli would extend ad infinitum in fashion and his personal life.

The designer’s next breakthrough came about while trying to make good on a lie used while girl-chasing. Cavalli related the following anecdote in that Panorama interview. In September 1970, the young divorcé crashed a party at leather designer Mario Valentino’s house. Trying to impress a beautiful woman who had asked what he did, Cavalli replied that he did prints on leather. She then introduced him to the host, who asked to see them. The designer rose to the challenge, by applying his printing technique to the thinnest glove leather. (Hippie florals in a dusty Cacharel palette were all the rage at the time.) Valentino wasn’t the only one impressed; Hermès wanted to acquire the exclusive rights to the technique. “I was flying back from Paris and in that aeroplane I was thinking. I thought, ‘maybe now, if I design one collection, I could meet a lot of models!’ That was always a principle of my life!” the designer told Leitch.

And so Cavalli placed himself at the pleasure centre of the jet set, opening a boutique called Limbo in 1970 in Saint-Tropez, where he made what he called “young, crazy, summer fashion” – and where sex symbol Brigitte Bardot naturally became a client. The boy of summer took his act to Paris in the fall; he’d soon expand his repertoire by patchworking denim. Cavalli showed his womenswear in Florence in 1972. He’d join the Milan fashion week schedule in 1994 after a business slump in the ’80s, spurred on, it is said, by his then-wife, Eva, whom he married in 1977 after meeting her at the Miss Universe beauty contest for which he had been tapped as a judge (she was Miss Austria).

Thirty years into his career, Cavalli had another breakthrough in 1993 when he elasticised denim for a second-skin fit. “Slowly, slowly, I go from the jeans to the red carpet,” said Cavalli, a go-to red-carpet source for the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Victoria Beckham in the ’00s. “I was in America when Roberto was at the top of his career,” Fausto Puglisi, the creative director of the house tells Vogue Runway. “It was the Sex and the City time, it was all about Cavalli, Cavalli, Cavalli. Roberto invited me to Florence, we met in his villa, with his beloved dog Lupo and the magnificent parrots….” The designer, who became a byword for glamour, was even written into the popular series’ script. As reported by the when, “Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie character was forced to clean out her overstuffed closet to make room for her boyfriend’s clothes. Their battle over space later escalates, and she tells him, ‘It’s Roberto Cavalli! I threw it out and I love it. What more do you want?’ 

More, more, more! That is the exuberant Cavalli ethos which has been carried on by the house founder’s successors, including Peter Dundas and the current creative lead, Puglisi. “Roberto was a lion, his life was larger than life,” Puglisi says. “He definitely wrote a beautiful chapter in fashion; Cavalli was the epitome of the bold, the beautiful, the print – freedom.” Adds Dundas: “Roberto’s fashion was exactly how he lived his life: colourfully, joyously and usually [in a way] impossible to ignore. His Florence house, in which he had me live the first year working with him, was a wonderful menagerie of exotic animals, colourful brocade furniture, prints, and religious icons everywhere!” Cavalli lived in a technicolour world in which there was room for neither grey, nor subtlety. His life is for the living, and his pleasure-for-the-taking attitude was infectious, just as his bright, bold, body-confident approach to dressing remains relevant today.