These are the nine finalists of the 2021 LVMH Prize

Bianca Saunders, Rui and Christopher John Rogers are among the designers to make it to the final round of one of fashion’s most prestigious awards. 

by Mahoro Seward
28 April 2021, 10:37am

Image courtesy of LVMH

Good morning fashion fans! Do we have some news for you! As you may know, the process behind the 2021 LVMH Prize has looked a little different than it has in past years. While the whittling down of the prestigious award’s 20 semi-finalists down to a final eight has typically taken place behind closed doors, this year the French luxury conglomerate invited the public in, staging a digital showroom and inviting you (yes, you!) to vote for your faves. 

In the spirit of mixing things up even more, an announcement this morning revealed that there actually aren’t eight young design talents proceeding to the prize’s final round… there are nine: Bianca Saunders, Charles de Vilmorin, Christopher John Rogers, Conner Ives, KidSuper’s Colm Dillane, Kika Vargas, Lukhanyo Mdingi, Nensi Dojaka, and Rui’s Rui Zhou.

After 32,000 (!!) of you seized the chance to champion your fave young designers, it looks like the task of settling on the usual eight proved too tough for the prize’s panel of 66 experts. “The quality of the semi-finalists was such that the committee of experts could not decide between them,” Delphine Arnault, executive vice president of Louis Vuitton and the prize’s founder, told Vogue

Indeed, it’s hard to think of a group of designers that are more deserving of a shot at the prize’s €300k pot. Based in London, Paris, New York, Shanghai, Cape Town and Bogota, they reflect the truly global scope of today’s fashion industry. The diversity of this year’s prize also makes itself felt in the aesthetic range seen across the finalist’s work, from Rui’s body-conscious knits and Nensi Dojaka’s sinuous dresses through to Bianca Saunders’ tailoring with manipulated textiles and Conner Ives’ archetypes of contemporary Americana. 

All going according to plan, they’ll meet in Paris in September, where one of the nine will be awarded the main gong, and another will take home the Karl Lagerfeld Prize -- which entails a tidy €150k and year of top-tier mentoring. That’s not to say they’ll be twiddling their thumbs in the meantime, though. This year, a select group of finalists will be tapped by LVMH-owned e-commerce platform 24S and, for the first time, SSENSE to produce and sell exclusive capsule collections and pieces. There is, after all, no better way to vote than with your wallet!

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