Young Designers Get Boost with Prize in Paris
By A. D. McKenzie

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2012 Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize Grand Final

2012 Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize — Grand Final
Photograph courtesy of Plaza Athénée Hotel

Every young designer probably dreams of receiving a huge check one day from sponsors to boost a fledgling clothing or jewelry line. Last week the dream came through for designing duo Annelie Augustin and Odély Teboul (known as Augustin Teboul), who won the second Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize and a check of 30,000€ in Paris.

The Dorchester Collection is a group of hotels that includes the iconic Plaza Athénée on avenue Montaigne in the French capital, the Hotel Principe de Savoia in Milan, and The Dorchester in London. As the hotels are located in three of the fashion centers of the world, their managers decided that sponsoring fashion would be a good fit for the group.

“We’re very much aware that young designers sometimes struggle at the beginning of their business, and those first years are very important, so we’ve been looking to help these designers, particularly with their first collection,” said Julia Record, director of communications for the Dorchester Collection.

“Hopefully that 30,000€ check will allow them to take that next step forward and help to provide a global platform,” she told Paris Insights.

Dorchester Collection’s chief executive officer Christopher Cowdray added that the group was “inspired by the creativity coming to the fore.” He said the group was confident that the winners would have a “thriving career.”

The contestants for the prize had to meet certain criteria, the organizers said. They had to have managed their brand for at least two years, they had to be based in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, or Switzerland, and they had to show “original flair, a possibility for commercial distinction as well as reflecting the values of the Dorchester Collection — heritage, craftsmanship, individuality, creativity, and innovation,” Record said.

The five finalists displayed their creations at a catwalk show on prize night, which took place this year at the Plaza Athénée. The luxury hotel dates from 1913 and boasts of having been the favorite hangout of luminaries such as Josephine Baker, Maurice Chevalier, and Christian Dior. The young designers did their best to channel this history.

Ranging from classic outfits to an edgy gangster look, the collections delighted spectators and the panel of judges that included Elizabeth Saltzman, contributing editor to Vanity Fair; Kenzo Takada, founder of Kenzo; and Nathalie Rykiel, CEO of Sonia Rykiel.

Quentin Veron

Fashion by Quentin Veron
Photograph by Jade De Clercq

The loudest applause went to Quentin Veron, a thin, tattooed designer who drew on his fascination with fur, the gangster era, and the Middle Ages to present a striking collection, with models in stockings, hats, and fur vests. He seemed the front-runner, but after a deliberation period, the judges agreed that the collection displayed by Augustin Teboul best evoked the spirit of “individuality, luxury, style, and craftsmanship, which characterizes Dorchester Collection’s iconic hotels.” The duo’s work also demonstrated critical distinction and the potential for future commercial success, the organizers said.

“It’s been a really great competition,” Veron told Paris Insight. “The other designers were really good too, so it has been very interesting. Even though I didn’t win, I’m of course going to continue my work.”

As well as receiving an engraved Baccarat crystal trophy, the winners will be able to stay at a Dorchester Collection property in either Paris or Milan during spring Fashion Week 2013.

We wish to thank A. D. McKenzie for her contribution to the Paris Insights blog.

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