In this weekly feature, InStyle’s Fashion News Director Eric Wilson shares his favorite fashion moment of the week, and explains how it could shape styles to come. Look for it on What’s Right Now every Friday.
The Moment: The 30 semi-finalists for the first LVMH Prize were whittled down to a shortlist of 12 this week in what is turning out to be the hottest competition to find the next big designer since Project Runway. Ever since the prize was announced last year, there has been an enormous amount of interest in which young designer will be selected to win a €300,000 grant from the luxury goods company.
That's partly because the jury comprises eight of the most influential and buzzy designers on the planet—Phoebe Philo, Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, Raf Simons, Riccardo Tisci, Nicolas Ghesquière, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon – so winning their endorsement means you really are good. And another factor is that the LVMH Prize is a global competition, giving it a broader field of potential nominees than other competitions, like the successful example of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund that has been helping young American designers for a decade.
Why It’s a Wow: "This has been the most amazing opportunity to introduce myself," says Chris Gelinas, one of the 12 finalists and a designer so new he has yet to sell any clothes. Gelinas, a former assistant to Olivier Theyskens at Theory, started his collection, called CG, last fall (looks pictured, above), distinctive for its use of techno fabrics, screen prints, and a space-race look Gelinas describes as "vintage futurism."
During Paris Fashion Week, the 30 finalists were introduced to the designers and top editors and retailers over two days, exposure that Gelinas says has helped further his ambition to get his collection into the best stores. (His clothes will be sold in about four stores, as yet to be finalized, beginning this fall.)
"It would have otherwise taken me years to meet all these people," he says, “but to have had these great conversations in 48 hours was a surreal experience.”
Learn More: The 12 finalists are indeed a global bunch, including New York-based designers Shayne Oliver of Hood by Air, Erin Beatty and Max Osterweis of Suno, Tim Coppens and Gelinas. There’s also Simone Rocha and Thomas Tait from London; Julien Dossena of Atto, Simon Porte Jacquemus, and Tillman Lauterbach from Paris; and Gabriele Colangelo from Milan. From further afield are Vika Gazinskaya from Moscow and Tina and Nikita Sutradhar from Mumbai.
You can read their bios and see examples of their work at lvmhprize.com before the winner is announced on May 28.