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Visiting Louis Vuitton Headquarters in Paris to Congratulate the LVMH Nominees

With that other awards show behind us, it’s time to turn our eyes toward this year’s LVMH Prize. Kicked off in 2013 by the Louis Vuitton Foundation as the global fashion world’s blue ribbon tournament, the prize is chosen by a jury featuring some of our favorite designers—Marc Jacobs, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of Kenzo and Opening Ceremony, Phoebe Philo of Céline—and the list of past finalists and winners includes SPACE designers Vejas Kruszewski, Marques’Almeida, and Simon Jacquemus.

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Gloves by nominee Marine Serre; all images by Jessa Carter

Each March, just as everyone in the entire industry is in Paris for Fashion Week, the semifinalists are announced and an open house with the short-listed designers is held at Louis Vuitton’s main digs. We visited today to meet the crew and congratulate two SPACE designers for getting at least this close to the grand prize.

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Dilara Findikoglu, one of the designers in the just-launched season of our SPACE LAB incubator, whispered her news to us during London Fashion Week, but we only just heard the good word from Molly Goddard the other day.

To put it all in perspective, three weeks ago we watched both of those women present their collections during LFW, and both have set up showrooms in Paris to meet directly with buyers and editors, too. Now they’re here on Avenue Montaigne sharing their favorite pieces and design perspectives with the biggest names in the business.

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Dilara told us that yesterday, the first day of the two-day event, she stood for 12 hours in Marc Jacobs heels but it was all worth it—because of, for instance, that moment when Karl Lagerfeld stopped to compliment her on a tattered and embellished pink suit that Mademoiselle Chanel probably would have approved of. (The suit is not available online; for more information please call 1.888.282.6060.)

I had to ask: What else did Karl say? Dilara said he inquired about the one-of-a-kind vintage elements she weaves into her work, and she told him that these piece-by-piece differences are what make her line what it is.

We talked with Molly about her recent embroidery-centered exhibition at NOW Gallery and how, especially with handwork, she actually really likes to leave things to the last minute and finish them in that manic and romantic 11th hour. It’s a carefree but also careful, calculated way of living that fits with her personal style and her collection, too. Deliberate but sweetly unkempt; special but not at all precious.

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Despite the insane schedules and nonstop pressure, Dilara and Molly (and everyone we talked to) seemed entirely at ease and comfortable with fashion’s demands. Sure, it’s easy to keep on keeping on when the most selective eyes are turned toward your work, but there’s more to it than that. Like the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund—and the Oscars—this is one of those things where just being placed in the company of the experts and jurors, and the past and present nominees, is one heck of a vote of confidence.

The winner will be named in June. Fingers crossed ’til then.

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—Laura Cassidy