In Paris tonight, a new breed of prize burst onto the fashion scene: the Fondation Azzedine Alaïa x Orveda award. Unlike most existing prizes, this one will be given twice yearly, starting now, and it aims to support next-gen talent in a very material way.
At a private dinner celebrating the initiative—a partnership between the Fondation and the biotech-based skin care brand Orveda, part of the Coty group—organizers revealed a first winner: the South African designer Luke Radloff, who launched his brand, Uni Form by Luke Radloff, a slow-fashion collection of trans-seasonal classics, in 2019.
Carla Sozzani, the president of the Fondation, described the fashion-beauty hookup as “a partnership of purpose and love. We wanted to rethink the prize model,” she told Vogue. “Giving young designers a prize is fantastic, but it’s the next step that’s the most difficult. We wanted to support them in a very real way, by helping them do something they can’t do by themselves.”
In addition to overnight name recognition, winners score a residency at the Fondation in Paris, enjoying up to two months’ access to Alaïa’s archives—a sprawling collection amassed over more than 50 years—and the Alaïa studio. Mentoring from Parsons Paris is also part of the mix, as is production support from the Fondation for a collection of five to 10 pieces in the designer’s own name, to be shown perhaps as early as next couture week. From there, the clothes will go on the road to be showcased at Orveda maisons in New York and Shanghai.
“We’re not as big as the others yet, but this is a way of helping designers become known,” offered Sozzani. “We have many dreams and ambitions. But it’s not about the money, it’s about the experience.”
Radloff, she noted, perfectly embodies the Fondation’s values of social responsibility and craftsmanship. The designer was selected from a short list by a jury composed of Sozzani, Fondation director Olivier Saillard, Parsons Paris director Marco Pecorari, creative advisor Sara Sozzani Maino, and Nicolas Vu, who co-founded Orveda with the legendary beauty exec Sue Nabi.