Jun 30, 2023
The verdict fell on Thursday evening at the Jardins du Palais Royal in a febrile atmosphere. LGN Louis Gabriel Nouchi won the Grand Prix of the 2023 Andam Fashion award. The announcement was accompanied by thunderous applause. The fashion competition, founded in 1989 by Nathalie Dufour, its managing director also awarded two Special Prizes for the first time in the history of the competition. The two lucky winners are Ester Manas and her partner Balthazar Delepierre, who have been advocating inclusive fashion since the launch of their brand in 2019, and Duran Lantik, the upcycling brand based in Amsterdam and Paris. To mark the occasion, the competition’s sponsors have collectively decided to add an additional endowment of €100,000.
Arthur Avellano, with his French label specialising in latex clothing, won the Pierre Bergé Prize, while Ukrainian designer Ruslan Baginskiy won the Fashion Accessories Prize. The fifth prize, the Innovation Award, created in 2017, had already been announced in April, crowning an Italian company specialising in bio-manufactured materials made from mycelium (mushroom roots). The total prize fund for the five prizes has been increased from €700,000 to a record €800,000, compared with €600,000 in 2022. The winners will also each receive a year’s mentoring from a patron of the arts.
Louis-Gabriel Nouchi offers refined fashion through sportswear and tailoring where he explores new masculinities, standing out for his beautiful cuts with real research into details and materials. At the end of 2017, he launched his own menswear brand LGN through a joint venture with Pauline Duval, the managing director of the Duval property group. Today, it is distributed in his own boutique in Paris as well as through his e-shop and around forty retailers.
He graduated from the ‘Ecole nationale supérieure des arts visuels de La Cambre‘ in Brussels in 2014, winning the prize for his graduating class, and was selected the same year for the final of the Hyères Fashion Festival. After an internship at Vogue Paris, followed by a stint at Raf Simons in Antwerp, he went on to work on a series of freelance collaborations before launching his own label. The designer, who has been particularly committed to producing clothes that have the least impact on the environment for several seasons, has seen his sales “explode in recent years”, as he puts it.
“Now we have to manage the growth. But we’re ready and this prize will really help us to do that with serenity. It’s a real validation of my work. We represent something that hasn’t been represented in men’s fashion until now. Over the years we’ve managed to create an urban community, male/female, LGBTQ, but not necessarily. That’s the good thing. You don’t have to be a cliché and our brand expresses this state of mind, where we talk more about sensuality than sexuality. Customers come to our label because they feel good about it. We’ve created a zone of trust. In fact, I parade my customers through the catwalk,” says the designer, still overcome with emotion.
The designer has won a total of 300,000 euros and will be accompanied by the CEO of Chloé, Riccardo Bellini, patron of this 34th edition and president of the jury. The manager will also mentor Duran Lantik, while the other Special Prize winner, Ester Manas, will be mentored for a year by Frédéric Maus, head of the Première Classe salon. “We’re delighted to help Ester Manas and Balthazar Delepierre develop this wonderful project and to take them very, very far,” he says. As in the case of Louis Gabriel Nouchi, the jury has highlighted new visions and representations of fashion.
Sunny and passionate, Ester Manas has made inclusivity her signature, with a range of extended sizes and intelligent clothing that adapts to as many people as possible. In just a few years, she has succeeded in radically breaking the codes of the fashion world by parading gorgeous models on the Paris catwalks in sexy, daring outfits, without ever lapsing into vulgarity or gratuitous language. “We’re delighted that the industry has decided that this is a theme that needs to be explored. And today, that is the message that is has delivered,” she enthused.
“We had a selection of finalists of a very, very high standard. We had a long discussion, almost three and a half hours, to decide between them. They all had very different profiles, and they all impressed us, whether from a creative point of view, or in terms of their commitment or their very entrepreneurial profile,” confided the deputy general manager of Lacoste, who will be accompanying the winner of the Pierre Bergé Prize, Avellano.
The other finalists included Italy’s Andrea Adamo with his label Andreadamo, Marie-Christine Statz’s Gauchere and the Maison Gmbh of the duo formed by Pakistani-Norwegian photographer Benjamin Alexander Huseby and Turkish-German designer Serhat Isik. The other two designers shortlisted for the Pierre Bergé prize were Ouest Paris, the young hedonistic workwear brand founded in 2022 by Arthur Robert, and Alice Vaillant’s Vaillant Studio.
Last year, Andam awarded the Grand Prix to the Botter label, the Special Prize to Hong Kong-born, London-based designer Robert Wun, the Prix Pierre Bergé to Anthony Alvarez of Bluemarble and the Fashion Accessories Prize to Dolly Cohen. In 2024, the Andam Prize, which will be celebrating its 35th anniversary, will be sponsored by Francesca Bellettini, the CEO of Saint Laurent. This will be an opportunity to pay tribute to Pierre Bergé who, with the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, helped to create this competition in 1989, and was its president until 2017.
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