This year's LVMH Prize contestant pool was a tightly contested bunch. From Rocha's new designer Charles de Vilmorin to London's Bianca Saunders to Christopher John Rogers, the jury had a tough task at hand (Jonathan Anderson, Stella McCartney, Kim Jones — basically most of the LVMH creative directors).
The winner turned out to be 27-year-old Nensi Dojaka, whose ultra-feminine design vocabulary of sheer fabrics and asymmetric shapes have cemented her as one to watch over the past year. "Her sensual and tailored fashion breaks with the conventions of womenswear, combining confidence and style," said LVMH's Delphine Arnault of Dojaka's win.
She'll also be a part of luxury retailer MatchesFashion's Innovators Programme, an annual initiative that offers each class year-long support including mentorship, preferential business terms and a £2.2 million investment in marketing support across brands. Read on to learn more about the emerging designer.
Dojaka was born in Tirana, Albania. She moved to the UK for high school in 2009. Growing up, dhe had a love for art but was unable to see any exhibitsor museums that were close to her. So she made her own drawings with abstract puzzle-like shapes that reflect her deconstructed work seen today.
"The minimalist, industrial nature of the '90s felt raw and honest," she told Vogue, citing the era's focus on detail, as well as the juxtaposition of feminine and masculine, as constants sources of inspiration. The brand's aesthetic has many mirrors to the minimalism found in Helmut Lang, Ann Demeulemeester, and Alessandro Dell'acqua — all of whom Dojaka cites as designers she admires.
After completing her BA in 2017, Dojaka started the foundation of her collection. She graduated afterwards from the prestigious Central Saint Martins — known to churn out legends such as Alexander McQueen and Riccardo Tisci. She told Forbes that she chose the program because it "revolves around your identity as a designer and getting to the root of that. It brings out what is unique about your approach."
Her BA graduate collection caught the eye of the Canadian luxury retailer, who gravitated towards her distorted female body exploration and deconstructed attire. Her smartly placed asymmetrical triangular sheer fabric pieces and minuscule straps have become a signature for blurring the lines between lingerie and clothing.
At the 2020 VMAs, Hadid turned heads when she arrived in one of Dojaka's sheer sinuous dresses on the red carpet. The occasion marked Dojaka's foray into tailoring, as she is known to typically drape her looks from scratch onto mannequins. The look immediately sold out on SSENSE soon afterward and helped put the emerging designer on the map. Her black minidress made Lyst's hottest products of 2021.
Photos courtesy of LVMH Prize
- The 2020 MTV VMAs Red Carpet: Best and Worst Looks - PAPER ›
- Despite Everything, 2020 Still Served Some Looks ›
- Meet the Nine Finslists of the 2021 LVMH Prize - PAPER ›