EXCLUSIVE: Christopher Esber Wins 2024 ANDAM Fashion Award

This story was updated June 27 at 4:26 p.m. EST

PARIS — Christopher Esber is the Grand Prize winner of the 2024 ANDAM Fashion Award, marking the 35th anniversary edition of the prize.

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Esber, who is based in Sydney, has won fans including Zendaya and Dua Lipa with his minimalist summer styles.

In addition to being mentored by jury president and Saint Laurent creative director Anthony Vaccarello, Esber scoops up the top prize and its cash award of 300,000 euros less than a year after making his debut at Paris Fashion Week.

A look from Christopher Esber’s fall 2024 collection.
A look from Christopher Esber’s fall 2024 collection.

For Esber, the first order of business when he got back to Sydney would be French lessons, to supplement the “merci beaucoup” he tried out on stage.

In addition to setting up a base in Paris, his first priority will be burnishing his designs.

“Being able to like access ateliers in Paris [and] make all my ideas come to life is my goal,” he said.

As for what topic he might broach first with his new mentor, Esber lauded Vaccarello’s ability to “balance the commercial and the creative [while] still remaining true to your vision.”

Esber beat out fellow finalists Meryll Rogge, Marie Adam-Leenaerdt, Ruohan and Charles Jeffrey Loverboy.

Taking home the runner-up Special Prize and its 100,000-euro purse is 3.Paradis, the 10-year-old label founded in Canada by French designer Emeric Tchatchoua.

His genderless line, known for its signature dove motif symbolizing peace and unity, has been worn by the likes of Billie Eilish and Justin Bieber. It staged its first fashion show in Paris in 2023 and recently showed its spring 2025 collection during men’s week.

Tchatchoua named Salvador Dali as a role model. “His life is a piece of art and I want to make my life a piece of art as well,” he said. The designs of 3.Paradis often tap into the imagery of a bird in flight.

The funds will go towards bolstering the company’s team with new hires to help scale up the business, the Special Prize winner said.

Candidates for ANDAM’s grand prize can be of any nationality, but must own a French company or set one up during the same year as the receipt of the fellowship.

The Pierre Bergé Prize went to Paris-based Pièces Uniques, a clothing brand founded by Edmond Luu that beat out fellow contestants Boyarovskaya, created by designer Maria Boyarovskaya and fashion photographer Artem Kononenko, and Vaillant, designed by Alice Vaillant.

With the first round of France’s early legislative elections looming on Sunday, Luu was keen to highlight his background.

“In this moment of France where people are voting, it’s important for me to be the face that a lot of people don’t want to accept politically,” he said.

“There’s a lot of people voting for the [hard] right and today, I want to be the example showing [them] that people coming from the suburbs, children from immigrants, can also have success.”

His impassionate plea echoed the opening remarks of French minister of culture Rachida Dati, who hoped that despite a challenging political landscape in France, candidates would “continue to create but most of all create freely,” she said. “You are the fashion of tomorrow. I send you all my wishes for success and I’m counting on you to ensure it is in your image – creative, diverse, innovative and open on all cultures of the world.”

The accessories prize went to Maeden, an Amsterdam-based leather goods brand under the creative direction of Christian Heikoop, while the innovation prize was taken home by Alternative Innovation.

Blackpink’s Rosé, who was among the 13-strong guest jury chosen by Vaccarello, said she was honored to “witness the rise of another groundbreaking group of talent this year.”

“As a fellow creative, I am thrilled to hear the stories and see the innovative visions,” she told WWD. “I look forward to the remarkable contributions these designers will bring to the fashion industry.”

Past winners include Vaccarello, who took the top prize in 2011, as well as Viktor & Rolf, Christophe Lemaire, Jeremy Scott and Marine Serre. French designer Louis-Gabriel Nouchi scooped the award last year.

The guest jurors also included model and singer Carla Bruni; actress and musician Charlotte Gainsbourg; models Anja Rubik and Alek Wek; former Saint Laurent campaign faces Béatrice Dalle and Rossy de Palma; director Gaspar Noé; actor Niels Schneider; actress Virginie Efira; writer Virginie Despentes, and stylist Emmanuelle Alt.

Rounding out the group was journalist Augustin Trapenard, who hosts Saint Laurent’s Talks podcast.

The anniversary of the fashion prize had ANDAM founder and managing director Nathalie Dufour reflecting on “35 years that are a testament to [the association’s] inventivity and determination,” expressing pride in the ecosystem around the prize and its growing number of corporate and institutional supporters.

“I am convinced that these connections woven beyond borders will allow new talents to emerge,” she said.

Created in 1989 by Nathalie Dufour with the support of the French Ministry of Culture and the DEFI, a body that promotes the development of the French fashion industry, and with the late Pierre Bergé as president, ANDAM has been a springboard for designers who would go on to achieve international recognition.

ANDAM — the French acronym for National Association of the Development of the Fashion Arts — is supported by large corporate sponsors, which now include Balenciaga, Bureau Betak, Chanel, Chloé, Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent, Galeries Lafayette, Google, Hermès, Kering, Lacoste, Longchamp, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, L’Oréal Paris, Meta, Mytheresa, OTB, Premiere Classe, Saint Laurent, Swarovski and Tomorrow.

The French Ministry of Culture and the DEFI, a body that promotes the development of the French fashion industry, are also key historic public partners of ANDAM.

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