Lebanon has always been known for its fashion, as it has multiple fashion designers showcasing their work at top events in the world and receiving high rank prizes. And it is to our honor to add another brand to the list, for receiving a nomination to be a semi-finalist for the LVMH’s annual prize.
Lebanese label Renaissance Renaissance, being the only label from the region, is among the 20 semi-finalists for the French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH’s annual fashion prize.
The women’s ready-to-wear label from the Lebanese capital Beirut, the founder Cynthia Merhej explores ideas of the female form in her designs, using proportion and volume.
Merhej studied at the Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins in London. She returned to Beirut in 2016 to set up the brand, and she is the third generation of her family to run her own atelier. Merhej’s objective of her pieces is to reflect the many “contradictions of being a woman today, while being deeply influenced by the couture heritage of her own family.
Simple materials such as cotton are made into shapes that both fit and veil the body underneath. For example, a dress is fitted through the body, before ballooning out at the hips in a gathered, layered hem. Or a top, is pulled tight around the neck and upper arms, but elsewhere is left loose. Merhej uses pull-ties to corral fabric around rib cages of across the lap, paired with slim-cut waistcoats and ruched lightweight coats.
Competing for the 2021 title are 20 designers, in a year that has been troublesome, for emerging designers. As this is the first time the prize has been held during a pandemic. Subsequently, the semifinalists’ work will be showcased virtually, where for the first time ever the public will be able to appoint their top choices alongside a panel of industry insiders.
With 1,900 individuals having applied for the eighth annual award, the 20 chosen will now wait to hear who will take the €300,000 ($351,858) prize, which comes with a year’s mentorship from specialists within the LVMH stable.
A second, smaller award, the Karl Lagerfeld special prize, will bestow one other designer with €150,000 ($175,902), as well as a one-year mentorship.