Among Buren’s octagonal columns, which paint the entrance to the Palais Royal gardens in black and white stripes, a few executives from major fashion companies, journalists and young designers gathered this Thursday evening in central Paris. Today’s event deserved it. The Andam Awards, intended to reward creative talents in fashion, announced the winners of their 32nd edition during a ceremony full of surprises.
The French Minister of Culture, Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, was responsible for opening this ceremony which has in the past rewarded big names in the sector such as Martin Margiela, Christophe Lemaire, Viktor & Rolf or Jeremy Scott. The opportunity to recall the importance of the award founded in 1989 and the “decisive mentors” in their support for French brands, as well as to underline the institutional support for the fashion industry. “The ministry will support the transformation of the sector,” she assured guests of the sector, who were impatiently awaiting the announcement of the winners of the evening.
It was Cédric Charbit, CEO of Balenciaga and mentor of the 2021 edition, who was responsible for removing doubts. Without too much preamble, the leader mentioned the name of Principal Prize winner Bianca Saunders. Endowed with a prize of 300,000 euros and a year of mentoring with the top manager of the house of the Kering group, the prize was up for grabs against six other finalists: GmbH, Area, Rokh, Casablanca, Ludovic de Saint- Sernin and Wales Bonner. The latter, recognized by the LVMH Prize for Emerging Talent in 2016, did not leave empty-handed. For the first time in its history, Andam offered a second mentorship to a second finalist.
“It’s amazing, I’m completely in shock,” the menswear designer told FashionNetwork.com, surprised to have received the main prize of the ceremony, in the form of a sculpture this time designed by the designer. French Marine Serre. “I did not expect it at all because my brand is a little different from the others, which are in a way more Parisian. I have never been here and this opportunity represents a big step for me”, explained the designer. enthusiastic, graduated from the Royal College of Art in London.
“This year has been crazy. I have spent it in isolation, learning to do things my way and thinking about where I want the brand to go,” she said, confident that the the imminent future of its label will be the development of its online activity and other product categories such as accessories. “I hope the next step will be to present my work in Paris in September,” smiles the designer with British and Caribbean roots, also a finalist for the LVMH prize this year.
For their part, Guillaume Houzé and Nathalie Dufour, president and director of Andam, were responsible for announcing the winner of the Pierre Bergé prize. A prize dedicated to emerging French fashion companies and endowed with 100,000 euros which rewarded “visual artists” Florentin Glémarec and Kévin Nompeix, aged 25 and 28 respectively. Better known as EgonLab, brand “genderless“founded in 2019, the creators dedicated this award”unexpected“to their grandparents, Marie-Louise and René, an endearing couple, usually star of the photos of their collections, who mounted in a black sports outfit signed by the brand.
“This award is not only for us, it is for the big family who are at the origin of the development of this project. We launched just before the pandemic and we have not yet had the opportunity. to know how the business is really going, then we are really looking forward to being able to start finding out, “the designers told FashionNetwork.com, visibly surprised to have won in a category where they were competing with Ester Manas, Charles de Vilmorin and Uniforme Paris. The Pierre Bergé prize will mark a turning point in their projects: “We want to organize a physical fashion show in January 2022, it is a project that is close to our hearts. We want to structure the company and develop the tailoring tailor-made with French craftsmen and a slow fashion“.
Accompanied by a cash prize of 50,000 euros and presented by Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, Creative Director of Swarovski, the accessories prize was awarded to the “made in” Paris leather goods brand, Aswad. “I started my career in the world of leather goods as a craftsman, I was a worker in the workshops of Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Moynat”, recalled Sonia Ahmimou, dedicating the prize to workers in the craft industry. . Jewelery brand Samuel François and Austrian studio Published By were finalists for the award.
Founded in 2015, Aswad is a brand that merges traditional techniques with French and Moroccan references. Finally, the Finnish textile start-up Spinnova won the prize dedicated to innovation, endowed with 50,000 euros.
Under the chairmanship of Cédric Charbit, this year’s jury included well-known personalities such as designers Phoebe Philo and Kerby Jean-Raymond or singers Chris Lee and Lalisa Manobal, from the group Blackpink. Likewise, the French prize, which is supported by the Ministry of Culture and the Defi, also included among the jury representatives professionals such as businesswoman Natalie Massenet; Amazon Fashion Manager Sally Singer; photographer Juergen Teller; the critic Pierre M’Pelé aka Pam Boy; singer Lou Doillon or consultant Linda Loppa. Pandemic obliges, a large part of the work of the members of the jury had to be done remotely.
“It’s a great edition in which we had 14 nominees instead of 10 as every year. There were a lot of interesting projects”, Nathalie Dufour, director of Andam, told FashionNetwork.com about the finalists selected from over 300 applicants. “We wanted to send a message of openness and opportunity to these creators, proud to show their projects. The choice was not easy and the level was very high”, admitted the director, assuring that the effect of the pandemic on prices of 2021 has strengthened the role of the capital in fashion: “I realized that Paris remains an incredible dream in terms of fashion shows. The attraction of the Parisian scene is very strong. finalists, from all over the world, want to be recognized here, ”she concluded.
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