Nensi Dojaka, a 28-year-old Albanian women’s fashion designer known for her distinctive, barely-visible mesh dresses and individual pieces, has won the LVMH Award 2021 for emerging talent.
The most prestigious prize in the fashion industry was presented to a visibly shocked woman Dojaka by the French actress Isabelle Huppert on Wednesday at a ceremony at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. One of nine finalists for the LVMH Prize, Ms. Dojaka, who works in London, will receive 300,000 euros (approx. 356,000 US dollars) and one year of mentoring from the professional ranks of the French luxury group LVMH.
The competition is back this year with a winner after the 2020 pandemic prompted the jury to split the prize money equally among the eight finalists. Ms. Dojaka, a Central Saint Martins graduate whose body sculpting designs – a mix of clothing and lingerie – are regularly worn by Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, and Kaia Gerber, has had an online cult following with her scarce but meticulous online cult following – Followers attracted constructed asymmetrical pieces. Earlier this year, her black mini dress became one of the hottest items on the Lyst Index of 2021 alongside designs from giant brands like Bottega Veneta, Prada and Hermès. Later this month, she will also showcase her fourth runway collection at London Fashion Week.
According to Delphine Arnault, executive vice president of Louis Vuitton and mastermind behind the LVMH award, the jury, which included Kim Jones, Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney and Virgil Abloh, was particularly impressed with the high quality of Ms. Dojaka’s work. her distinctive point of view and a start-up that thrived successfully during the challenges of the pandemic.
“I think we’ve all seen a young brand with real growth potential,” said Ms. Arnault. “These initial ideas are very clear and we believe that she can pull this thread to expand and develop her product offering to bring even more creative and commercial potential to a wider audience.”
Ms. Dojaka confirmed that expanding their offerings would be a priority when it comes to capitalizing on their profits and building a more solid team to scale a brand that Mytheresa and Matchesfashion.com already counts among the retailers who use their designs to lead.
“I couldn’t believe that I had won – I was shocked,” she said after the ceremony. “But I’m also happy because I have a vision of femininity that I want to share with the world. I love female bodies. I love collarbones and back. I think my little black dress turned out just as well as it did this year because people are excited to be going out and partying again. You want to feel sexy and chic. “
More than 1,900 designers have applied for the award, which is open to designers under the age of 40 who have produced at least two ready-to-wear collections. At a time when the survival of young brands is harder than ever, and after a triple voting blockade, the jurors decided this year to split the runner-up Karl Lagerfeld Special Jury Prize among three finalists: Rui Zhou from China, Lukhanyo Mdingi from South Africa and Colm Dillane from the New York label KidSuper. They each receive 150,000 euros and a one-year mentoring.
While cash will no doubt prove to be a blessing, all three said it was the mentoring and insights of LVMH executives and designers that would prove most valuable to their young businesses.
“We all come from very different places, we know a little bit about what money could do, but it will be so valuable to open up the insider fashion world – Paris – to us,” said Dillane, noting that he “doesn’t” was best friends with Marc Jacobs – still. “