Rising Turkish designer Hakaan has had a fantastic year so far: French Vogue's editor-in-chief, Carine Roitfeld attended his first internationally-noticed show, in which topmodels including Natalia Vodianova presented his creations, star photographers Mert & Marcus shot his lookbook - and then, last month, he won the €220,000 French ANDAM award for emerging designers. But some are asking: how 'emerging' is Hakaan really?
An angry anonymous letter, which was circulated among French media this week, asked "how a Turkish designer out of nowhere books Natalia Vodianova, Maria Carla Boscono, Lara Stone or Natasha Poly for his show - models asking €15.000 min per show, and who aren't really famous for their charity!"
Frustrated about the seemingly unfair appointment of Hakaan, who beat Paris-based designers such as Alexandre Vauthier who according to the author would have been in bigger need of the prize money to develop their businesses, the letter continues, asking "why Carine Roitfeld, Vogue France's editor in chief, and chairman of this jury's session at ANDAM, who never comes to first shows, contrarily to what she claims, is sitting first row, with Kate Moss, untouchable fashion icon [both excerpts translated from French]."
The letter, which was sent to 600 fashion journalists, has led to debates whether it could be true that France is not doing enough for its fashion talents. Compared to the British Fashion Council, whose successful NewGen scheme has recently brought about designers such as Giles Deacon (Ungaro's new creative director) or Mark Fast, or the CFDA's Swarovski prize in the US as well as its newly launched Fashion Incubator for new designers, France's support for the new generation seems dim indeed.
Even the country's First Lady, Carla Bruni does little to drive exposure of unknown talents (she is known for her preference for Chanel), as opposed to Michelle Obama, who in some cases (e.g. Prabal Gurung) can almost be thanked entirely for the consequent success of a designer after she wore one of his outfits.