LVMH Prize 2020: French-Moroccan label Casablanca shortlisted for fashion award

Menswear designer Charaf Tajer has made the cut as one of eight finalists

Charaf Tajer, left, is behind the label Casablanca, right, which is known for its bold prints. Instagram 
Powered by automated translation

The LVMH prize was launched in 2013 to support young, emerging fashion designers across the globe, and one design talent hailing from the region is in with a shot of winning the Dh1.2 million award this year.

Charaf Tajer is among eight finalists vying for the big prize, after previously making the cut for the 20-label-strong shortlist last month.

The French-Moroccan designer debuted his menswear label, Casablanca, in 2018, with collections rich in bold prints, relaxed lines, fluid silks and sporty silhouettes.

The label, which Tajer described to Vogue in 2018 as "a French brand with a souvenir of Morocco", is produced in both France and Morocco.

"Casablanca to me is always a word that sounds like vacation," the 33-year-old added, revealing the brand's name is a nod to the city in which his parents met.

More on the award

The eminent award, founded by the luxury goods conglomerate that boasts the likes of Louis Vuitton, Dior and Givenchy among its portfolio, offers the winning applicant €300,000 (Dh1.2 million) and a year of mentoring from some of the group's biggest names.

The eight finalists were revealed on Tuesday, March 10, following presentations to the LVMH design jury during Paris Fashion Week, which closed on Tuesday, March 3.

Tajer is up against the likes of British menswear designers Priya Ahluwalia and Nicholas Daley, American womenswear designer Peter Do, and eponymous South African womenswear label Sindiso Khumalo. British-Indian designer Supriya Lele, Japanese designer Tomo Koizumi and Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena of London label Chopova Lowena also made the cut.

epa08136394 Models present creations from the Fall/Winter 2020/21 Ready to Wear collection of French-Moroccan designer Charaf Tajer  for Casablanca fashion house during the Paris Fashion Week, in Paris, France, 17 January 2020. The presentations of the men's collections run from 14 to 19 January.  EPA-EFE/CAROLINE BLUMBERG
French-Moroccan designer Charaf Tajer presented his autumn / winter menswear collection in Paris last month. EPA

The final winner of the Fashion Designers prize will be announced on Friday, June 5 in a ceremony held at the Fondation Louis Vuitton headquarters in Paris. A second designer will be awarded the Karl Lagerfeld Prize, named after the late creative director of Chanel, which offers €150,000 as well as a year of mentoring. A graduate prize will also be handed to three fashion school students who completed a degree last year, with each winner handed a €10,000 grant and a year-long internship at a LVMH brand.

The young designers' competition is open to labels from any country who have produced at least two collections and who are aged under 40.

Vaqar from Iran also nominated in shortlist

While they didn't make the finalists selection, Tehran's Shiva and Shirin Vaqar, the self-taught designers behind the namesake label, were shortlisted last month.

The womenswear brand, which was also shortlisted for the LVMH Prize in 2016, is known for its exaggerated proportions, structured approach and muted colour palette.

Previous LVMH Prize winners include 2019's Thebe Magugu, from South Africa, 2015's Simon Porte Jacquemus, from France, the UK's Grace Wales Bonner in 2016, and Japan's Masayuki Ino, who won in 2018.

This year's jury is made up of the likes of Palestinian-Dutch model Gigi Hadid, American model Karlie Kloss, Irish diversity activist Sinead Burke and British make-up artist Pat McGrath, and is led by LVMH Prize founder Delphine Arnault.

"This year, once more, the semi-finalists impressed us with their creativity and their commitment to creating clothes that are respectful of the environment," Arnault told Vogue on announcing the nominees. "The eight finalists all have in common to be very talented in their respective fields and to aspire to enhance know-how."