One of the most amazing things I discovered the first time I went to Paris for Fashion Week was how compassionate the French government is about supporting the arts and young talent.
In Paris, young designers who would never have a shot at showing their collections at the official Mercedes Benz line-up in New York City have the chance to get the funds needed to stage a carefully planned spectacle that can include anything from live performances to intricate runway designs.
In keeping with this trend, the ANDAM Award – a French acronym for National Award for the development of fashion – is given out annually to a young designer selected by members of the French government, CEOs of major companies, and editors from major publications.
This year, the prestigious award went to Hakaan Yildirim. The Turkish designer was picked by an A-list panel that included French Vogue’s editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld, Lanvin’s Alber Elbas, Jean-Pierre Simon of the French Ministry of Culture, Sarah Lerfel from the influential Paris boutique Colette, Jefferson Hack of Dazed & Confused, Virginie Mouzat of Figaro, Delphine Arnault of LVMH, Valerie Hermann of the Gucci Group, Italian clothing tycoon Renzo Russo, and M.Pierre Bergé, of the Pierre Bergé/Yves Saint Laurent Foundation.
The designer has been in the spotlight ever since his February London collection, when Carine Roitfeld and Kate Moss attended his show. A slew of A-list models, including Lara Stone and Natalia Vodianova, walked the runway.
Yildirim, who is based in London, will be putting his 220,00 Euro prize towards his October ready-to-wear show in Paris. The Fine Arts University in Istanbul graduate beat out Mark Fast, ex-Nina Ricci designer Calla Haynes, and ex-Balenciaga designer, Bouchra Jarrar for the coveted prize.
This award has an excellent track record, and past winners include the recently named Ungaro Creative Director Giles Deacon, Gareth Pugh, Viktor & Rolf, Christophe Lemaire, and Martin Margiela.
I couldn’t be more excited to see what the designer shows for Spring/Summer 2011. His Fall/Winter collection of sexy, slashed and sculpted dresses was to die for. It’s no surprise that Carine Roitfeld – a huge fan of Balmain and Tom Ford – is a major supporter of Hakaan.