On the Runway: Marine Serre Wins LVMH Prize for Young Designers


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Marine Serre

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LVMH

LONDON — Marine Serre, a 25-year-old French designer known for edgy sportswear staples laced with traditional Islamic motifs, has won the 2017 LVMH Prize for emerging talent.

The award was presented to Ms. Serre by the pop star Rihanna on Friday at a ceremony in Paris. One of eight finalists for the LVMH prize, now in its fourth year and considered the most lucrative in the industry, Ms. Serre will receive 300,000 euros (about $336,000) and a year of mentoring from within the professional ranks of LVMH, the French luxury group.

Ms. Serre designs for the Balenciaga label, in Paris, as well as for her own line. A graduate of La Cambre Mode in Brussels, she received considerable industry acclaim for her graduate collection titled “A Radical Call for Love.”

Ms. Serre said her 2017 fall collection, a fusion of contemporary sports silhouettes and logos with Islamic symbols — like the hijab and crescent moon — was an exploration of ties between the Arab and Western worlds. She had been inspired, she said, in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels. Ms. Serre is also a finalist for the Andam Prize, and participated in the Hyères festival earlier this year, another accolade seen as a potential catapult to industry stardom.

The maturity of her approach, and vision for the growth of the business, convinced an judging panel, which included the designers Karl Lagerfeld, J. W. Anderson and Nicolas Ghesquière, and the executive vice president of Louis Vuitton, Delphine Arnault, to award her the prize. This year 1,200 designers applied for the prize, the largest number in the award’s history. It is open to designers under the age of 40 who have produced at least two ready-to-wear collections.

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Models wearing designs by Ms. Serre.

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Anne-Christine Poujoulat/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“We found Marine to be very impressive, from her unique point of view to the fact her product is very modern, as well as the confidence she displayed at the age of 25 when walking into a room and talking about her ideas with some of the most established designers in the world,” Ms. Arnault said in a telephone call from Paris after the ceremony. “It is always an incredibly difficult decision to make. All eight finalists had achieved such an accomplishment to get to that stage, given the competition. But I think with Marine we got a very clear sense of what she could and would do with the resources.”

The judges also awarded a special prize to the Japanese designer Kozaburo Akasaka, the creative director of Kozaburo, for what they called “his delicately deconstructed men’s wear.” He will receive a 150,000 euro grant (about $168,000) and 12 months of mentoring from LVMH.

Previous winners of the LVMH Prize include Grace Wales Bonner, the British men’s wear designer, in 2016, and the London-based label Marques’Almeida, in 2015.

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