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Designer to watch: Marine Serre, LVMH Prize winner

The LVMH Prize for Young Designers named Marine Serre as this year’s winner. Presented to her by Rihanna, the prize gives her 300,000 euros and a year of coaching from LVMH. Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, and Marc Jacobs are some of the big names that fall under LVMH’s parent group.

Winning the award may have come as a surprise to the French-Belgian designer. W Magazine reported in March that Serre moved to Paris to start working at Balenciaga. LVMH subsequently asked her to participate in the contest. She didn’t expect to make it to the shortlist of 21 designers.

Incidentally, Serre found inspiration for her collection from her background in sports. Before a car accident, she thought she would have a career in tennis. After the accident, she turned to fashion design and has since apprenticed at Alexander McQueen, Martin Margiela, and Raf Simons. Her collection fuses traditional Arabic dress with athletic-wear.

Along with seven other finalists, Serre presented her designs to a panel of high-powered judges. Judges included Phoebe Philo, Marc Jacobs, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Karl Lagerfeld and Nicolas Ghesquière. About 1,000 designers entered the competition and finalists included Molly Goddard and Nabil Nayal.

According to British Vogue, Nicolas Ghesquière explained the judges’ decision: “It was the way she represents dressing today.” He continued,

“We all agreed that Marine Serre had an element of creativity and great talent but also a vision for the development of her brand.”

In its fourth year, Serre is among an elite group of emerging designers. Thomas Tait, Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida, and Grace Wales Bonner are past winners, while runners-up have also enjoyed success. LVMH awarded Kozaburo Akasaka of Kozaburo this year’s “Special Prize.” He also receives a year-long mentorship, along with 150,000 euros.

With the list of designers she’s worked under, and now this prize, Marine Serre is definitely a designer we’re watching.

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