Thomas Tait wins LVMH fashion prize

May 29, 2014, 7:58 AM EDT
Thomas Tait's Fall/Winter 2014 collection.
AFP/Getty Images

The winner of the inaugural LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize was named May 28 in Paris, and he is Montreal-born, London-based Thomas Tait.

The prize is 300,000 euros, or $409,270 at current exchange, and comes with a year of coaching by executives of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, and a selection of the French conglomerate’s biggest fashion stars.

Best known for his tailoring and dramatic, curvilinear silhouettes, Tait’s latest collection for Fall 2014 had Bauhaus and Constructivist touches, interpreted in jackets and coats in felted wool that were alternately sharp yet soft, with contrasting, undulating primary colors adding to the textural interest of the lineup.

Tait, 28, possessed talent that was recognized early: He was the youngest student at 24 to complete the Central Saint Martins women’s wear master’s degree program in 2010, and went on to win the inaugural Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize a few months after showing his first collection at London Fashion Week that year. He is now focused on quickly building an international business, but is facing the typical emerging designer’s struggle of finding enough working capital to drive larger-scale commercial success, although the LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize money should certainly come in handy on this quest.

The other finalists shortlisted for the prize were: Suno by Erin Beatty and Max Osterweis,Simone Rocha, Vika Gazinskaya, CG by Chris Gelinas, Gabriele Colangelo, Simon Porte Jacquemus, Tillmann Lauterbach, and Tim Coppens.

The jury — comprising Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, Nicolas Ghesquière, Raf Simons, Phoebe Philo, Riccardo Tisci, Kenzo’s creative duo Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, and LVMH executives Delphine Arnault, Pierre-Yves Roussel and Jean-Paul Claverie — also awarded two special prizes to Hood by Air’s Shayne Oliver and Miuniku’s Nikita and Tina Sutradhar. Each will receive 100,00 euros, or $135,946, and a year of mentoring.