After months of anticipation, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund crowned its latest winner on Monday night at Spring Studios in NYC. And in a somewhat surprising twist, the award did not go to a ready-to-wear brand: Instead, the shoe designer Paul Andrew has taken home the big prize.
Tied as runners-up were Ryan Roche and Eva Zuckerman of the jewelry line Eva Fehren. In addition to business mentoring, the winner will receive a cash prize of $300,000 and each runner up will receive $100,000.
The other nominees for this year's award, which were announced in July, included Wes Gordon, Tanya Taylor, Daniel Corrigan and Jake Sargent of Simon Miller, Edie Parker, Natalie Levy and Grant Krajecki of Grey Ant, Gigi Burris of Gigi Burris Millinery and Orley's Matthew Orley, Alex Orley and Samantha Florence.
After putting in time -- about 15 years' worth -- at design houses like Alexander McQueen, Donna Karan and Narciso Rodriguez, Andrew launched his own line in time for spring 2013. His shoes walk the line (pun barely intended) between clean and over-the-top: Think a tall red boot with precisely cut tiers of fringe running down the shin, or a motorcycle boot with dense black fleece buckled in tight around the ankle. The British-born designer has made a prickly-looking reverse scallop a recurring feature in his pumps and flats.
Winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund can be something of a career-maker for a young brand, to put it mildly. After nabbing the prize, Alexander Wang, Altuzarra and Proenza Schouler became some of the hottest tickets at New York Fashion Week; Public School, last year's winner, seems to be on a similar trajectory.
So best of luck to Paul Andrew. We're expecting big things.