Grace Wales Bonner has been named the LVMH ‘Young Fashion Designer 2016' for her label Wales Bonner.
The 25-year-old British designer wins €300,000 to take her budding label to the next level, as well as benefiting from a year-long support program from the luxury brand's team.
"I feel quite emotional," the former Saint Martin's student told Relaxnews after the ceremony. But the graduate, remains focused on the year ahead. "I'm just going to work towards building out the show, I'm not going to let it change things too much, because I have a very specific vision of how I want things to work," she said. "I think the mentoring is going to be really helpful to me, and understanding how I can scale the business up and how I can bring people into the team."
Wales Bonner, currently on its fourth season, was chosen by a star-studded jury including J.W. Anderson, Nicolas Ghesquière, Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, Phoebe Philo and Riccardo Tisci. Delphine Arnault, Jean-Paul Claverie and Pierre-Yves Roussel, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of LVMH Fashion Group, completed the line-up. The brand was selected for its elegant hybrid approach towards European and African cultures.
The jury also awarded a special prize to young Canadian designer Vejas Kruszewski for his label Vejas. The creative will benefit from €150,000 of prize money, as well as a mentoring program. He hinted at his business plan for the next year, saying: "We're going to invest in developing footwear, and of course what really drives most brands financially is accessories."
The third edition of the prestigious LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize was awarded by Lea Seydoux at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. Wales Bonner follows London-based Portuguese brand Marques Almeida, which took home the title in 2015.