Why You Need To Know Grace Wales Bonner, Winner Of The 2016 LVHM Prize
London-based men’s designer Grace Wales Bonner has won the 2016 LVMH prize for young designers. Bonner, who’s known for her gender-defying designs and ornate embroidery and ornamenting, is highly attuned to black culture and identity. She continuously draws inspiration from ’70s blaxploitation movies, and just last week, she dedicated her men’s spring/summer 2017 collection to the 1930 crowning of Haile Selassie as emperor of Ethiopia. As the winner of this year’s LVMH prize, she will receive a grant of $237,000 (300,000 euros) to put towards the development of her business as well as a year-long mentorship from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton executives. And this isn’t even the 25-year-old designer’s first accolade either; in 2015, she won the British Fashion Council’s Emerging Menswear Designer Award.
This year’s LVMH jury members included swoon-worthy designers like Jonathan Anderson, Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, Phoebe Philo, Riccardo Tisci, Kenzo‘s Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, and Nicolas Ghesquère, as well as Vuitton’s second-in-command Delphine Arnault, and LVMH Fashion Group’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Pierre-Yves Roussel. In addition to Bonner, the panelists also awarded a special prize of $133,000 (150,000 euros) and, like Bonner, a year-long mentorship from the LVMH group to 19-year-old Vejas Kruszewski’s of Toronto-based label Vejas.
Speaking on behalf of the jury, Arnault said, “Grace Wales Bonner of Wales Bonner impressed the jury with her soulful work on refined shapes, creating hybrid forms that marry European and African style. I congratulate her for this outstanding achievement. We have also awarded Vejas Kruszewski of VEJAS with a special prize. The youngest of this season distinguished himself with a mature style and independent spirit. The third edition of the LVMH Prize saw young talents from over fifty countries come together to compete. I’m proud that the LVMH Group puts the spotlight on their work and guides them in their development.”
Stay tuned to Milk for more young designers to look out for.
Images via Wonderland Magazine and The Kinksy.