The LVMH prize has been awarded to Grace Wales Bonner, marking the first instance the award has been given to a Menswear designer. The London-based couturier was chosen by a panel of industry heavyweights like Jonathan Anderson, Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld and Nicolas Ghesquiére, beating out a shortlist that included Aalto by Tuomas Merikoski, Alyx by Matthew Williams, Brandon Maxwell by Brandon Maxwell, Facetasm by Hiromichi Ochiai, Koché by Christelle Kocher, Vejas by Vejas Kruszewsk, and Y/Project by Glenn Martens. The prize includes a year-long mentorship and a $335,000 USD check. Bonner has previously won garnered awards from the British Fashion Council.
The British-Jamaican designer’s work has challenged preconceptions of gender and race, especially those surrounding black male sexual identity. This Prize comes just days after Wales Bonners’ spring/summer 2017 show at LCM, which drew upon Caribbean, African and European inspirations to tell the story of the crowning of the first Ehtiopian Emperor Haile Selassie (perhaps better known as Jah Rastafari).
All of this points toward a bright future for the young designer, who only graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2014.