Each year, the Dorchester Collection–owner of such well-known hotels as London’s the Dorchester, the New York Palace (former residency of Chuck Bass) and the Beverley Hills Hotel–awards an endowment to an up and coming designers of ready-to-wear or luxury clothing and/or accessories. Called the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize, any U.S. based designer who has consistently operated their brand for two years may apply. (Last year the prize went to British designer Thomas Tait.) The winner will receive $40,000 to help further establish their line and also have the chance to display their collection during Paris Fashion Week in 2012 at Hôtel Plaza Athénée.
The 2011 judges panel is no joke–last year’s, which included Manolo Blahnik and Daphne Guinness, drew more attention than most of the applicants–and this year’s boasts a similarly heavyweight lineup. Applicants will face critique by Giovanna Battaglia, Derek Blasberg, Thom Browne, Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, Francisco Costa, Shala Monroque, Elizabeth Saltzman and Lauren Santo Domingo. They will select the designer who best demonstrates an original aesthetic flair, a capability for future critical distinction and commercial success.
As an example, see last year’s winner: Tait’s fall/winter 2011 collection, which won for inventive takes on navy and white menswear-inspired sets, made him a must-see at London Fashion Week last February.
The closing date for applications is May 31. You can download an application here. And for more information, go to www.dorchestercollection.com. The competition is an amazing opportunity for lesser known talents to make a name for themselves, and we strongly suggest all with equally strong collections and business plans apply!