In France, style is an "affair of state," which is why France's Ministry of Culture opened its doors today to announce the winners of ANDAM's annual design competition. Frédéric Mitterrand, France's minister of culture, and Pierre Bergé, president of ANDAM, announced the honors. And the winner of this year's €200,000 ($288,000) ANDAM fashion prize is: Anthony Vaccarello, 31. The lucky young designer is a graduate of La Cambre in Brussels, and he presented his first show in Paris last March.
Yiqing Yin, 26, won the €60,000 ($86,000) First Collection Prize, a new grant from ANDAM designated to help young designers stage their first show. "It was a prestigious jury, and they cast their ballots in ten minutes," said Nathalie Dufour, ANDAM's founder, who Interview reached after a long day of deliberation at the Ritz in Paris. The nominees—menswear designer Adam Kimmel, France's Commun, Jeremy Laing, who works in Toronto, and recent Central Saint Martins grad Matthew Harding—showed protoypes of their Spring 2012 collections and presented an overview of their business plan to the jury yesterday.
"This award is a vote of confidence for me, and it means I can continue to show. Perhaps this will help me find a financial partner," said Vaccarello, who presented his first fall 2011 collection in Paris in a dark and narrow, L-shaped corridor with a little help from his friends—show producer Alexandre de Betak, with Michel Gaubert on sound. "It was a tight space, but I like creating tension," he explains.
In its first season the collection will be available at Colette in Paris, London's Browns, Hong Kong's Joyce, New York's Kirna Zabete, and Maxfield in Los Angeles. In 2006, Vaccarello won the Grand Prix at Hyères Fashion Festival, which put the young designer on the map. "After Hyères I was contacted by Fendi and I went to Rome and spent two years working there for Karl Lagerfeld. That was one of the best places to learn my craft." Vaccarello's look is sexy and precise, a game of Art Deco patchwork and lingerie techniques for ladies who have little to hide.
The annual ANDAM competition is open to any young designer with a project to present their collection in Paris and a business plan which includes starting a French company. Turkish designer Hakaan Yildirim won last year and London's Gareth Pugh, Maison Martin Margiela and Viktor & Rolf are past recipients. The ANDAM prize is the fruit of a collaboration with France's Ministry of Culture and some of the most prominent names in fashion, including the Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint-Laurent Foundation, the Gucci Group, LVMH, Longchamp, French department store Galeries Lafayette, Renzo Rosso's Only the Brave, and Swarovski.