I’m always in pursuit of new designers to bring a breath of fresh air, some new vision on clothing. Therefore every year I look at the LVMH Prize with some curiosity.
The young Fashion Designers’ competition is open to designers from every country who have produced at least two collections and who are under 40.
To help them develop their creative work, LVMH gives the winners a grant of 300,000 euros and a personalized technical and financial support from the Group for a 12-month period following the LVMH Prize award. This support covers all the areas of expertise that are critical to a young fashion brand (intellectual property, sourcing, production and distribution, image and advertising, marketing etc.).
I scanned all the candidates among whom the winner is going to be awarded the prize later on in June and my favourite candidate this year is Brandon Maxwell. I saw his designs and something clicked into place: his modern, slender lines, his sartorial details and some flair for geometrical juxtaposition just made sense to me. It kind of rang a bell.
And then it dawned on me that Brandon Maxwell is clearly drawing inspiration from Gianfranco Ferrè’s late ’80s fashion. I personally had a soft spot for Ferrè, he had such a good and refined taste as I have rarely spotted in anybody else and on top of that he had a great sense of humour. What I would have never expected, though, was to somehow regret the ’80s fashion, but I must say that it actually forced you to develop a strong personality 😉. Huge shoulders, wispy gowns, high waist trousers and above all that insane passion for backcombed hair that made you look like a merengue to say the least. I was a teenager at the time and was as beautiful as a teenager can be and yet my heart sinks every time I see a picture of that period… I was dreadful, the most unflattering fashion ever that was.
To his honour I must say that Ferré interpreted those tacky, bold years in the most distinguished way (way better than Armani if you want me to tell you) and this is the style Maxwell seems to be after, a sleek interpretation of GFF’s already sophisticated lady.
And this is the news about Maxwell: his clothes are very feminine which is nothing I can tell about any other stylist. Femininity – which was a categorical imperative back in the ’80s – has been broadly put aside over the past few years. So take an eye on this guy, maybe we’re eventually ready to go back to being sexy.