LVMH Prize 2018 shortlist: the designers blurring gender boundaries

On 6th June, the LVMH Prize jury will announce its decision, and name the successor to Marine Serre. This is the last in our series of articles on the nine finalists for the 2018 edition of the emerging designer prize. After telling the story of the London-based designers and of three creative couples, we now focus on unisex fashion, a strong trend embraced by Ludovic de Saint Sernin, Matthew Adams Dolan and Doublet.


Matthew Adams Dolan - LVMH Prize

Though only 30, Matthew Adams Dolan has already caught the eye of the fashion world , thanks to Rihanna, a big fan of Dolan’s oversize jackets. Dolan was born in Massachusetts and grew up in Australia, where as a teenager he discovered fashion catwalks, art and culture. Now based in New York, Dolan went to high school in Japan and then studied French/Swiss literature and translation at the University of Lausanne. In 2014, after working in an Alexander Wang store to fund his education in the USA, he took the MFA Fashion Design and Society course at New York’s Parsons School of Design.

Dolan staged his first catwalk shows in New York, where his talent was soon spotted. Dolan’s style borrows deliberately from the roots of US apparel culture, exploring the everyday outfits and habits of local workers. He loves both denim apparel and formal items. From blazers to shirts, darted trousers, cardigans and even suits for the latest collection, Matthew Adams Dolan’s clothes play with proportions, creating a unisex style exuding his own brand of destructured elegance. With his references to pop culture icons and clever nods to 1990s style, Dolan has already won over more than thirty retailers on Europe, Asia and America.


Masayuki Ino, founder of Doublet - LVMH Prize

Doublet is a label which follows a similar groove to Dolan’s, reinterpreting 90s outfits for young men and women, though with more of a punkish vibe. Japanese designer Masayuki Ino, now nearly 40 and a graduate of the Tokyo Fashion Academy, founded Doublet in 2012, presenting his first collection for the spring 2013, after working as shoe designer for the Mihara Yasuhiro label. Doublet embodies Masayuki Ino's vision of sportswear, with oversize silhouettes and an abundance of patches and printed slogans.

Together with plastic artist Takashi Murakami, in 2017 Masayuki Ino won the first prize at the Tokyo Fashion Awards, and in the same year he staged his maiden catwalk show in the Japanese capital. Since last year, his creations are also promoted by a showroom in Paris. Masayuki Ino’s inspirations are the skateboarding and BMX culture of his youth, labels like Undercover and Jeremy Scott, as well as Andy Warhol’s art and Darren Aronofsky’s films - not the least talented of iconoclasts. Masayuki Ino’s creations often have something of a conceptual feel to them, for example the plastic-covered t-shirts and shirts presented this season. The label is currently distributed in Asia and in Europe.


Ludovic de Saint Sernin - LVMH Prize

Ludovic de Saint Sernin too made his catwalk debut last year, in Paris. The French designer, who shuttles between Paris and London, has produced two collections of menswear items which are highly coveted by ... women. His signature jumpsuit, made of several hundred pieces of red ceramic tile bound together by golden hooks, made a big impression. He has also collaborated with footwear brand Repetto and, last season, with Scottish cashmere manufacturer Begg & Co.

Ludovic de Saint Sernin, 27, is a fashion design graduate of the Duperré School of Applied Arts in Paris, and has already caught the industry’s eye with his style, strongly influenced by the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe. After internships at Saint Laurent et Balmain, Ludovic de Saint Sernin joined Balmain’s women’s ready-to-wear design studio under the aegis of Olivier Rousteing. The experience is reflected in his collections, a hymn to male bodies, featuring jumpsuits, leather coats and outrageously feminine tops and trousers. Ludovic de Saint Sernin openly references LGBT culture, and is amused by the fact his clientèle is made up mostly of women.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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