Young, Talented, and Schizophrenic: Podium Jeunes Stylistes

Shuko Inaba's glowing gown
As a goodbye to Haute Couture, and a hello to Prêt-à-Porter, Podium Stylistes hosted its third annual Podium Jeunes Stylistes competition at The Westin in Paris. Chosen from nearly 200 applicants, 15 designers were given 100 days, one theme, and required material to create one ready-to-wear and two couture looks. Podium Stylistes asked the competing designers to “dissect their [minds]” for this year’s theme, schizophrenia, “not in the sense of having a double personality, but rather in losing contact with their current mindset of being ‘young designers’. They have to reach the absolute limit of their reasoning.” These young designers were also given a base fabric of silk crepe, which was to be incorporated into their looks. Not surprisingly, we saw many designs alluding to mental institutions with sterile white garments and straightjacket like belting, but those who dug deeper into the theme, presented collections that were the hallmarks of the show. 

Paul May's intricate cape
For me, three designers ruled the show: Shuko Inaba, Paul May Levanho, and Lou de Testa. Shuko Inaba sent out two quirky couture looks accessorized with multicolored, multi-sized balls that lit up, playing with the phrase “losing one’s marbles” in her designs. The hooded first look suggested a sac of marbles that hung from the model’s head. Inaba closed the show with her second couture look, which lit up with balls that rolled down the back of the gown and gathered in its train.

Paul May, winner of the Jury’s Honorary Prize, not only stood out by risking a menswear collection, but also by creating incredibly ornate coats. Backstage, before the show, Melissa from Prête-Moi-Paris and I had marveled at the beautiful coats with their intricate detailing. After the show, we spoke with May who explained how he had cut the lattice design he used in the sleeves of his final look. With his talent for detail and his ability to take great risks, he is a young designer to keep an eye on.

Lou de Testa's show stopping couture
Lou de Testa won the grand prize as Best Young Designer of the Year. The 24 year old Paris native was rewarded with a full scholarship to attend Paris Factory Mode & Design at ESCP Europe “a brand new Masters in fashion and business sponsored by Podium and the prestigious Paris business school”, and the exhibition of her outfits at the Apparelsourcing Paris trade show, giving her “a real boost… to make [herself] known to the general public and fashion professionals in Paris and beyond”. Lou drew her inspiration from owls and their schizophrenic temperaments– the passive observer and the aggressive predator. “[Developing] duality in every aspect of the clothes”, Lou created constricted yet flowing shapes, used lively yet somber colors, and mélanged sharp and soft materials. Contrasting sharp and soft with the use of feathers in each of her garments, she constructed metallic feathers, fashioned like armor and combined them with soft, blustery ostrich feathers. Melissa and I were able to speak with Lou before the show, and I was highly impressed with her different take on schizophrenia. The designer looked past the obvious and created spectacular, true couture looks that stole the show. My choice for the winning designer was confirmed when the judges announced Lou as the Best Young Designer of the Year. Congratulations to Lou, she has a great vision and fantastic creativity.

UPDATE 28/02/2012: If you're in Paris, you are able to see Lou's designs on display now at The Westin Paris -Vendôme 3, rue de Castiglione, 1er. You have no reason not to!

Check out more photos from behind the scenes here: 

Podium Jeunes Stylistes

For videos on the designers subscribe to Podium Jeunes Stylistes YouTube channel
Stay updated and follow Podium on Facebook

xx, Q.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting challenge. Thanks for the report, pix, and the link to the video.


merci pour vos commentaires. bisous, Q.

You might also like:

Related Posts with Thumbnails