Montreal’s Lecavalier Is a Finalist For The 2021 International Woolmark Prize

Photography by Ksenya Poggenpohl

“It is really an honour to represent my country and I do hope this will inspire the younger generation of designers to really push their boundaries and their creativity.”

The finalists for the prestigious International Woolmark Prize were announced this morning, and among the impressive roster was Montreal-based brand Lecavalier, helmed by Marie-Ève Lecavalier.

“I’m actually really proud to be the first Canadian to be a finalist in a prize that has such a big legacy,” Lecavalier says of the news. “It is really an honour to represent my country and I do hope this will inspire the younger generation of designers to really push their boundaries and their creativity. I’m also really touched to have such an amazing opportunity in these uncertain times; it does gives me the extra energy to surpass myself for that upcoming collection.”

Photography by Ksenya Poggenpohl

Lecavalier joins Bethany Williams (UK), Casablanca (France), Kenneth Ize (Nigeria), Matty Bovan (UK) and Thebe Magugu (South Africa) as a finalist vying for the top prize of US$143,000 to augment business practices. This year’s competition has the theme of “Less is More”, and centres around transparent and sustainable craft; the guiding concept certainly resonates this year, with so much focus being brought to how brands make their products.

“As much as 2020 has been a rollercoaster, the good thing is that it shook everything we knew and we did in the fashion industry and I think that is a really good thing for the future,” Lecavalier says of what she’s optimistic about in terms of industry practices moving into the new year. “All the ‘rules’ of the fashion industry are not really relevant anymore, and there is now more space for the younger generations of creatives to set their own boundaries and work ethic. We can now write our own rules and show our creativity how we want and at the pace that we are comfortable with.”

Photography by Ksenya Poggenpohl

Lecavalier has never been shy to show her authentic self through her designs–a quality that undoubtedly caught the attention of the Prize’s finalist judging panel, which included fashion journalist Tim Blanks and model Naomi Campbell. Her current collection, Cyclone, is “inspired by Joan of Arc–the mythical, unruly, and rebellious heroine,” she notes. “Combining impeccable and innovative craftsmanship, meticulous material research, and bold aesthetics, [my Fall] collection is comprised of loose-fitted silhouettes, printed silk featuring drawings by Carlotta Baily-Borg, balloon sleeves, topstitched denim, and intertwined leather–a technique recalling the medieval chainmail. Embodying the spirit of Joan of Arc, this new collection is a manifestation of perseverance and determination, and is made for the outspoken, stubborn, liberated, and eccentric human.”

The International Woolmark Prize will be given away in early 2021 and the winner will join the ranks of talents ranging from Karl Lagerfeld (after whom an additional innovation-focused prize worth US$73,000 has been named), Yves Saint Laurent, Gabriela Hearst and Valentino Garavani.

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