marques’almeida tell i-D about their lvmh prize win
We caught up with Marta Marques after she and Paulo Almeida claimed the €300,000 prize in Paris last week.
A few minutes after 3pm last Friday, Delphine Arnault, Executive Vice President of Louis Vuitton, thanked the prestigious LVMH Prize 2015 jury - which included Phoebe Philo (Céline), Karl Lagerfeld (Fendi), Raf Simons (Dior), Nicolas Ghesquière (Louis Vuitton), Marc Jacobs (Marc Jacobs), Riccardo Tisci (Givenchy), Carol Lim and Humberto Leon (Kenzo) and Jonathan Anderson (Loewe) - before handing over to Oscar-winning actor Natalie Portman, who announced that London-based Portuguese designers Marques'Almeida would take home the €300,000 prize.
"Of course, they were my choice," Marc Jacobs confessed to i-D at the announcement, explaining, "It's a democracy. We voted and they won. So they are definitely my choice." Delphine Arnalt enthused that, "Today, the jury chose a beautiful house, full of creative energy and colours with an intensive use of jeans". Designer Humberto Leon of Opening Ceremony and Kenzo (with Carol Lim) told us, "Marques'Almeida has a story to tell, the clothes are nice and the business is really well thought of. This made the difference."
Simon Porte Jacquemus won a special prize too, and he told i-D of his strategy in the competition: "My strategy was to let them ask questions. I think they were moved when I talked about freedom. I told them that I am not obsessed with retail shops all over the world, it is much more important for me to stay free to do what I like."
After a weekend of getting used to the big news, i-D caught up with Marta Marques of Marques'Almeida to get her take on the win and find out what the designers have planned for the future.
How does it feel to have been picked by a panel of the biggest names in the fashion industry?
It's crazy. The best thing of all was meeting all these designers that made us go into fashion. It was incredible to have a normal conversation with them and tell them about our work. Some of them struggled at the beginning and it's motivating to see where they are now.
What did they say to you?
Every judge had his questions about things he was concerned with. They asked mainly about the collection and the business, and the interview was constricted to 10 minutes. Despite all the tensions surrounding, we tried to be quite natural when explaining what we do and all the motivation we have.
What was it like to go through it with the other designers?
It was good. Faustine Steinmetz was in my year at Central Saint Martins. Craig Green was the year below us and we share studio space in same building. We all get along quite well and we had a drink after.
After making it to the semi-finals last year, why were you compelled to apply again?
Some people thought it was brave or crazy to do it again but it didn't seem crazy to us. We're still a growing brand so when we saw the opportunity to apply again we did it. Regardless if we win or lose, we thought that there is always something positive that will come from it.
All winners of the LVMH Prize to date (you and Thomas Tait) trained and are based in London. Why do you think that is?
We both graduated from Central Saint Martins. It was an incredible advantage and honour to have the same professor Louise Wilson. Another thing London offers is the amount of support; it's unbelievable the genuine help that we got. Sometimes we are struggling with limited budgets but the supportive system is a relief.
Now all eyes in the international fashion industry are on you, what do you want to say?
It's amazing that we will have more recognition. But when it comes to the creative process, it doesn't matter if we have all the eyes on us or not. We will close the studio's door and do what we feel is the best. Pressure will stay out of it. We would like to make our voice go further and louder.
What will you do with the prize money?
There are few things we have in mind. Our team is incredibly small. They are hard workers and so dedicated to their job but we definitely need more hands. We would like to do more accessories and definitely invest on our show next September and be sure to do it in the right way. Basically we would like to know who we are and what the brand means and work on developing it. We can't wait to meet people for the mentoring, as we are sure that we have huge amount of things to learn from them.