The votes are in. Syrian designer Nabil El-Nayal has been selected as one of the finalists for the 2017 annual LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, following a showroom presentation in Paris. He will go head-to-head with the other seven candidates – narrowed down from more than 1 200 applicants by the 45-member panel of experts – for the awards 300 000 euro grant and mentorship. They are: Yoon Ahn (Ambush), Kozaburo Akasaka (Kozaburo), Cecilie Rosted Bahnsen (Cecilie Bahnsen), Molly Goddard, Maria Kazakova (Jahnkoy), Marine Serre, and Antonin Tron (Atlein).
This will be the London-based designer’s second time participating, after making the semifinals in 2015. “I feel ecstatic to be put through to the final,” the designer tells Vogue Arabia. “Being shortlisted again was already an honor, so to make it through to the final this time round is incredible.” Speaking to American Vogue, Louis Vuitton’s executive president, Delphine Arnault, says, “Jacquemus was in the same position two years ago. To me, that illustrates the importance of perseverance in fashion. You have to believe in yourself and keep evolving.”
El-Nayal says, “When I was shortlisted in 2015, I was praised for the collection, but the feedback was that I needed to focus on developing the business. My team and I have really focused on building that in the past two years and it’s great that this has been recognised by the panel.”
El-Nayal will have 10 minutes to present his Fall 2017 collection at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in June. Judges, including Karl Lagerfeld (who is a client), Riccardo Tisci, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Marc Jacobs, Nicolas Ghesquière, and others will discuss the candidates, then choose a winner. As for the most difficult part of the journey? “I think the main challenge for June will be condensing all of our hopes and dreams for the brand into a 10-minute presentation!”