2009 winner of CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, Sophie Théallet, with Lanvin's Alber Elbaz
Anna Wintour and CFDA's Steven Kolb
Nicole Kidman in Lanvin with Alber Elbaz
Previous finalist Jason Wu, with Alexa Chung, wearing one of his designs
Supermodel Chanel Iman in Thakoon, with the designer, former finalist Thakoon Panichgul
Queen of Spades, I mean Vogue, Anna Wintour’s mentorship and assistance coupling with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, aptly named the CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund, held their annual Awards Dinner a few weeks ago, announcing this year’s winner. The aim of the fund, according to their website, is to “provide financial awards and business mentoring to emerging fashion designers.” It’s not the only fashion initiative supported by Wintour, who also hosted the inaugural Fashion’s Night Out in New York in September. This was the sixth time round for the Fund however, with Wintour acknowledging the importance of the City of New York to fashion: “New York is the place to come for young designers to show what they’re capable of.”
Our very own Nicole Kidman introduced the keynote speaker, “the visionary, incomparable Alber Elbaz” wearing Lanvin, of course. Up-and-coming French designer (who will be more up than coming after this nod) Sophie Théallet was this year’s winner, and was awarded US$200,000 to assist her in establishing her designs in New York. Théallet favours dresses; her aesthetic is simple, and with an amazing eye for detail, the French native designs clothes women want to wear (no wonder she is a Lanvin fan). “I try to make beautiful and functional clothes that a woman can work and travel in.” Previous winners of the fund have all gone on to become huge success stories: Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez with their label Proenza Schouler, Doo-Ri Chung and her doo.ri and my favourite, the (almost child) prodigy that is Alexander Wang.
Showing us why she is reigning monarch of fashion, Queen Anna proves why anything and anyone with her kiss of approval is going to make it, and make it big. In the aptly named documentary of the making of the September 2007 issue of Vogue (the biggest in the magazine’s history,) we saw a glimpse of designer Thakoon Panichgul, who was named a finalist in 2006. Thakoon’s status skyrocketed last year when Michelle Obama wore one of his trademark printed dresses as her husband accepted his presidential nomination. Fellow finalist, Jason Wu, is also a favourite (as is Théallet) of the First Lady- Wu was responsible for that white Inauguration gown. Other now well-known finalists include the Mulleavy sisters, responsible for the amazing Rodarte, Phillip Lim, red carpet favourites Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig (Marchesa), and David Neville and Marcus Wainwright with their label Rag & Bone. Watch this space for things to come from Théallet - if she’s anything like her predecessors, her name won’t be anonymous for much longer.
photos: Style.com & Vogue