As well as the Grand Prix at the Hyères Festival in the South of France, the 10 fashion contestants were battling it out for the coveted annual Chloé prize (and the €15,000 prize money that will come in handy for an emerging designer). After showing seven of their own silhouettes for the main prize, all contestants presented a design that they thought best summed up the spirit of the Chloé girl. And it was down to the house's President, Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye, to reveal the winner: German designer Anna Bornhold.
Announcing her victory, he said, "Anna has a sunny personality and a great sense of humour, which shines through in the way she has channelled the spirit of the Chloé girl with nonchalance and modernity. The way she has applied a true artisanal savoir-faire radiates a natural Chloé attitude with youth, freedom, and a natural elegance." Maison Chloé also enforced its commitment to the Chloé Prize with a renewed three-year contract dedicated to supporting the future of emerging designers.
Bornhold's full collection was a fun affair, creating cartoon-like versions of the classic jean, Doc Marten and Converse, all in incredible fabrics that she created herself (see her explanation below). But it was her ability to pinpoint a certain soft, easy Chloé style that captured the attention of the assembled fashion crowd. The winning look was an effortless ombré jumpsuit (from white-cream to pale denim blue), made of the frayed fabric that showed off her technical skills. It was the kind of garment any current Chloé lover would snap up immediately.
Whilst the Grand Prix is proof of the most accomplished full collection, in many ways, the Chloé prize is a greater indicator of a young designer's ability to work to brief; whilst some entrants produced wonderful collections entirely of their own creation, they fell short trying to work with an established brand in mind. Not Bornhold though, who the spirited Chloé team were excited to be welcoming into the fold. Like last year's joint winners (Roshi Porkar and Liselore Frowijn), who were warmly embraced at a beautifully informal Chloé lunch by the beach at Le Pradeau on Saturday, Bornhold is lucky to find herself a new member of such a prestigious, yet pretence-free fashion family.
We caught up with Anna after she took the prize, to talk to her about her Chloé design and her thoughts on the house.
How did you create this special fabric, which looks like a strange sort of denim?
My special fabric consists of single sewing yarn threads. I developed a three-step method to build the fabric: cut, mix and sew. It's a little bit like painting: you have a lot of different colour spots which looks from far away like denim, but if you look closer you can discover the single yarn threads in all the different blue tones. You really can see how the "jeans" starts to grow. It's always a real surprise for me how the garment will look in the end. I can't get enough of it and I am still in the process of going on with these techniques and finding new surprises.
Why do you think your outfit won the Chloe prize?
I think that Chloé liked my light humour in my "space suit" and the image that I wanted to create. For me, there's the image that you are in your personal own outer space and that you are weightless and protected at the same time. You can feel yourself absolutely free and maybe you can find your personal Chloé freedom in it.
Who do you see as the Chloe woman?
I can't say I have a special Chloé woman with a special age or behaviour. For me it's more about feelings and sensibility of yourself and your surrounding. The ability to feel yourself is a character of my Chlo woman.
What will you do with the prize money?
The show must go on and I can't wait to go back to my sewing machine and start the process.