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: Marques’Almeida, the four-year-old London-based collection designed by Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida (pictured, above), won the second annual LVMH Prize on Friday, capping a strong year for the collection that started with a strong focus on avant-garde denim and has since become one of the most buzzed about young brands in fashion (pictured, below). The choice of the designers, along with last year’s winner, Thomas Tait, shows that the megawatt designers who comprise the LVMH panel of judges (Nicolas Ghesquière, Karl Lagerfeld, Phoebe Philo, Raf Simons, Marc Jacobs, etc.) are placing an emphasis on candidates with intellectual rigor and craftsmanship behind their brands.
Marques and Almeida, who are both Portuguese, trained at the CITEX school in Porto and London’s Central Saint Martins, and worked respectively for Vivienne Westwood and Preen before starting their collection, which, according to their biography, follows “the Helmut Lang school of thought.” That’s a fancy way of saying that their designs project a strong attitude, but they, like many of the smart young designers on London’s currently hot fashion scene, are not above creating clothes that people might actually wear. Their designs are already sold in stores like Opening Ceremony and Joyce. From their spring collection, I saw a lot of bright, sporty ideas rendered in unexpected fabrics, like an asymmetric-cut denim jacket with frayed edges, or a strapless dress in cowhide – showing their combined strengths as a designing couple.
Why It’s a Wow: The award comes with both a substantial cash prize (at 300,000 euros, or about $330,000, the largest in fashion) and a year of business mentoring by LVMH executives. This year, LVMH also awarded a special prize to Simon Porte Jacquemus, whose wildly staged Jacquemus shows have brought a strong dose of irony and humor (and sometimes cleverness, too) to Paris Fashion Week 9 (one of his designs is pictured, below). And another big advantage of winning the LVMH’s endorsement is that the fashion elite will be sure to pay more attention to both collections.
Learn More: See video interviews with the designers, and meet the rest of the finalists in this year’s competition, at lvmhprize.com.