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Lucire: Fashion
the circuit

Top prize Christine Manthey won the Emerging Trends’ Fashion Challenge in Paris

Emerging trends hit Paris

Five designers got their moment in Paris as the Emerging Trends Fashion Challenge headed across the Pond. Rhonda Richford followed their progress
photographed by Vitaliy Djamgarov



Rhonda Richford is a Paris-based writer.

The Emerging Trends Fashion Challenge held its first European competition in Paris, naming American designer Christine Manthey the winner amongst the five entrants. Judges Artem Balaev, producer of Aurora Fashion Week in St Petersburg, Russia; Barry Laden, CEO of the Laden Showroom in London; and Olivia Pinnock, editor of, selected Manthey’s colourful contemporary designs as the winning looks and predictor of what’s to come in fashion’s future.

Held in the glass-roofed penthouse of Paris’s Éspace St Martin, an intriguing maze of a building dotted with Egyptian statues in the shadow of the Pompidou Centre, the Saturday night show was structured to highlight looks from each designer’s past, present and upcoming collections. The three-part presentation enabled audience and judges to understand how their visions and styles are staying consistent while still adapting to fashion’s constantly changing trends.

The competition, which originated as part of Boston Fashion Week in 2008, made its Paris début with five designers chosen from around the world: Rudy Wolff from Norway, Jamie Ochrey from Canada, Pakistani designer Saman Arif presenting her label Nayna Fashion House, Kristi Vosbeck and Manthey both hailing from the United States. Wolff and Vosbeck placed as second and first runners-up respectively, with Manthey taking home the top prize after Project Runway-style Q&As with the panel.

Wolff presented the most avant-garde designs, showing an eclectic range of looks ranging from princess to punk, with a sequinned military jacket and modern Middle East conceptual colour-blocked jersey dress thrown in for good measure. Though a couple of pieces came off as too extreme, Wolff took risks to create unique looks for each segment. All of Wolff’s one-of-a-kind designs were made of recycled or repurposed fabrics, highlighting the growing eco-consciousness of the fashion industry.

Vosbeck showed off a collection inspired by Old Hollywood, and as nostalgic as it often felt in a show dedicated to the future, a bold poppy red pant suit and an impeccably tailored silk gown demonstrated a sharp eye for form-fitting construction that would do well on the red carpet once her collection becomes more consistent and less reliant on retro references and vintage styling.

Of the top three, winner Manthey presented the most consumer-friendly contemporary collection, with wearable separates in a mix of patterns and colours. A candy-striped pencil skirt paired with an equally bright print and lace blouse that looked particularly strong on the runway and a combo of a tailored striped pant, black and white ombre T and glossy, wide-lapelled leather jacket were the looks that felt most fashion-forward. Her metallic and leather headbands were also fun additions to the collection.

In taking the top prize, Manthey was awarded US$5,000 and offered a spot on the runway during the upcoming Boston Fashion Week show on September 29, 2012. She’ll continue to design her two-year-old collection from New York, and is currently shooting a new lookbook to present to buyers across the United States at market week in September.

The Emerging Trends Fashion Challenge will be held in London in 2013 with more fresh faces in fashion. •



Rudy Wolff:
Kristi Vosbeck:
Christine Manthey:
Nayna Fashion House:


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