Calling all young fashion designers—LVMH officially opens the fourth edition of its international design prize today, with the added news that this year sees the addition of Maria Grazia Chiuri (who replaces Raf Simons) to the panel of judges. Chiuri has been quite visible since taking the reigns at the LVMH-owned Dior last year, and the luxury conglomerate seems to be very pleased with what she's done. Also new are members of the international selection committee, which now includes writer Derek Blasberg, Madame Figaro editor Anne-Florence Schmitt, and heavy-hitters from the retail world, such as Ikram Goldman (of Ikram), Dennis Freedman (of Barneys New York), and Frédéric Bodenes (of Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche).
Meanwhile Jonathan Anderson, Nicolas Ghesquière, Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, Humberto Leon, Carol Lim, Phoebe Philo, and Riccardo Tisci, as well as LVMH executives Delphine Arnault, Pierre-Yves Roussel, and Jean-Paul Claverie are all returning as the final judging panel.
The prize (which is open to designers under 40 who have produced and sold two ready-to-wear collections) offers one winner a €300,000 grant, as well as a one-year mentorship from industry expert meant to help with the development of the young brand. Recent fashion school graduates are also able to compete for a €10,000 grant, and a one-year position on a creative team at the LVMH maison of their choice.
Although the competition is open to the world, the past three winners—which include Thomas Tait, Marques'Almeida, and Grace Wales Bonner—have all been London-based designers. The runner-ups, who receive a “special prize” are more regionally varied, and it should be interesting to note that Jacquemus and Hood by Air (who took special honors in 2015 and 2014, respectively), seem to have outshone the brands they lost to (at least in terms of generating buzz).
The application process is now open online for designers and graduates, and will close on February 5. Finalists will be selected in March, and the winner will be announced in June.