The LVMH Award offers new designers an opportunity like no other: €300,000 and a full year's assistance in brand development from the fashion powerhouse. Decided by industry veterans including the creative directors of LVMH brands (Karl Lagerfeld, Phoebe Philo and Raf Simons are all on the panel), it is a prize than can transform the future of young designers. Today, it was announced that Marques'Almeida, the Portugese duo who have become a beloved fixture at London Fashion Week over recent years, have won the award – and in honour of the accolade, we look over the codes that define them.
The Nineties Reimagined
"A lot of their references are from the nineties...things like Frankie Rayder, Juergen's Go-Sees, Robert Cary-Williams' wet, stringy hair," explained regular collaborator and show hair stylist Duffy. With their S/S15 runway set to PJ Harvey (apparently the soundtrack to Marta Marques and Paolo Almeida's youth) and an abundance of grungy, subcultural elements playing out throughout all of their collections, their interpretation of a Corinne Day-meets-Kurt Cobain era of teenage glory is always remarkably fresh rather than overly nostalgic; a thoroughly modern re-imagining of the decade.
Plenty of Denim
Marques'Almeida can perhaps be credited for the recent denim resurgence, their frayed three-pieces a consistent feature within the wardrobes of everyone in their front (and second, and third) row during show season. A contemporary re-working of a quintessentially nineties trend, they have managed to turn the staple fabric into wearable high-fashion. For A/W15 their trademark blue palette evolved into pinks, greens and even paisley prints, so it is (thankfully) showing no sign of abating.
A Thoroughly Cool Celebration of Youth
For S/S15, Duffy created "nightbus hair" for the models. For A/W15, Terry Barber gave them "nightbus makeup." Essentially, the Marques'Almeida girl – heavily inspired by Marta's younger sister, Sofia – knows how to have a good time, and isn't fussed about smearing her eyeliner. John Colver, their collaborator and show stylist, aptly explained that it's a "hands-on, DIY aesthetic that runs through everything they do," and this approachability combined with their relaxed, morning-after take on styling gives them an effortlessly aspirational and youthful air of cool.
Positivity and Energy Throughout
Colver concludes that it is Paolo and Marta themselves that truly define the brand: "The positivity and energy they have really comes through and I think that makes people really respond. I'm not saying this because I work with them but they are THE nicest people and team. We all have a genuine laugh when working on shows. I think they are just so refreshing to work with." And ultimately, that makes their 2015 success a joy to see, and we look forward to seeing further successes to come.