LVMH prize finalists



by Alice-Rose Perry
5 min
LVMH prize finalists

Boasting an alumni of contemporary greats (including Marine Serre, Jacquemus, Virgil’s Off-White, and Marques’Almeida, to name literally just a few), this year’s fashion front-runners are waiting find out who will be awarded the 2021 LVMH Prize.

Last year, the Prize froze their usual proceedings due to the pandemic, instead sharing the €300,000 winnings  between the finalists – including Ahluwalia, Supriya Lele, and Chopova Lowena. 

Presenting another element of post-COVID industry evolution, this year’s finalists have been reviewed via a digital-first process, as the public were invited to help meditate on the decision for the very first time. Selected from 1,900 candidates, the winner will be announced in September at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. With a matter of months to go, here’s our take on the final nine and what we love about their creative portfolios so far.

Bianca Saunders

An RCA graduate, Bianca Saunders is ‘redefining masculinity’ through a subversion of ‘classic streetwear and avant-garde couture’. Looking to her British and West Indian background, with references such as dancehall parties and the paternal figures in her life, Saunders presents menswear with a binary balance of both familiar and unexpected design – playing on ‘feminine’ themes such as sheer t-shirts and Prince-esque ruffled shirts.

Conner Ives

A previous designer at Rihanna’s Fenty, Conner Ives’ AW/21 collection served as the New York-native’s exploration into his youth. Drawing on popular culture ‘high school’ archetypes, he revisited the notion of an ‘American Dream’ through a new, contemporary lens – with varsity jersey trousers, the sequins worn by ‘LA Crystal Girls’, and ‘Clueless’-style plaid tailoring.


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KidSuper’s Colm Dillane

Based in Brooklyn, Colm Dillane presents streetwear with fun-first aptitude. Previously paying eclectic reference to football, folk art and popular culture, Dillane produced a stop-motion show for KidSuper’s SS/21 collection – in which he replaced the models with Barbie dolls who were dressed to depict icons such as Pablo Picasso, Michael Jordan, Freddie Mercury, Salvador Dalí, and Meryl Streep. 


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Charles de Vilmorin

Recently tapped as the creative director of Rochas, Charles de Vilmorin’s work has a lucid, psychedelic quality. An acid-bright amalgamation of colour and shape, it’s no wonder that the 24-year-old’s SS/21 collection has been compared to the surreal artwork of Niki de Saint Phalle – with patchwork puffer jackets, padded bubble dresses, and a palette fit for a Keith Haring piece.

Kika Vargas

Having established her eponymous label in 2011, Colombian-born Kika Vargas reimagines traditional design in a whole new scope, integrating the volume of the 80s, the wholesome stylings of Prairie design, and classic Victorian sleeves in her recent pieces. With localism at the heart of her label, Vargas often works from her home country in order to support the community.


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Rui’s Rui Zhou

Founded by Rui Zhou, Rui celebrates the fragility of ‘imperfection’. Her designs encourage a close relationship between the garment and the body, envisioning the ‘body shape as a frame’ for each material sculpture. The Chinese designer’s intimate approach is often realised through structural bodysuits, panelled detailing, and engineered frills, as seen on the likes of Solange and Chloe x Halle. 


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Christopher John Rogers

Realised through a process of carefree ‘scribbles’ in wax crayons, Christopher John Rogers’ SS/21 collection was a vibrant foray into the boundless creativity of the inner child. Recreating ‘the way children see the world through very simple shapes,’ John Rogers presented a visual flow of pattern which dripped from garment-to-garment, structured by the playful proportions of a pleated panel here and a boned bodice there.


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Lukhanyo Mdingi

South African designer Lukhanyo Mdingi calls on the ‘spirit of collaboration’ to form a ‘considered, sincere, and mindful approach’. Working with artisans and communities to form a ‘bridge’ between heritage, tradition, and modern design, Mdingi often looks to the principles of tailoring and minimalism in order to escape the limits of time.


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Nensi Dojaka

Tapping into today’s renaissance in 90s trends, Albanian-born Nensi Dojaka has been seen on names such as Bella Hadid and Jaime Xie. Working to capture the essence of femininity, Dojaka’s creations often include mesh and threaded panelling, taking direction from classic lingerie design and evoking a material exploration of both strength and vulnerability.


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