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The first edition of The Kooples Art Prize unveils its two winners

By Maxime Der Nahabédian


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Gaby Sahhar and Kim Farkas, winners of the first edition of The Kooples Art Prize, image courtesy of The Kooples

This year, French ready-to-wear brand The Kooples launched the first edition of its The Kooples Art Prize. On April 12, the competition presented its first two winners, Gaby Sahhar and Kim Farkas, who were chosen from a total of twelve entries.

Led by Studio Marant - Emily Marant, The Kooples Art Prize is part of a professional support initiative. Alongside contemporary art journalist Marc Beyney-Sonier and the artistic director of the prize, Emily Marant brought together a jury of professionals and four reporters to propose twelve artistic projects. The duo also collaborated with Maison Artagon, an organisation dedicated to the support, promotion and accompaniment of creation and emerging cultures. As well as teaming up with the Musée d'art contemporain du Val-de-Marne (Mac Val), the very first partnership of its kind for the institution.

The Kooples: A "reset"

The two winners of the prize will produce new works that will be presented at the start of the new academic year in Paris, in the brand's new flagship store on the Champs-Élysées, which will open in the autumn. Marie Schott, President and CEO of The Kooples, welcomed the initiative, saying in a release: "The approach of the contemporary art prize we have created is unprecedented for a brand like ours and we are proud to offer artists the opportunity to exhibit their work to a wide audience in the store we will soon be opening on the Champs-Élysées. In the summer of 2023, the Mac Val museum will host a group exhibition of the winners' works, under the artistic direction of curator Thomas Conchou.”

The brand's ambition is to provoke a real "reset" of The Kooples. Following the takeover of the brand by the Swiss group MF Brands (Lacoste, Aigle and Gant) and the departure of the founding brothers Alexandre, Laurent and Raphaël Elicha, its new CEO wants to give a new impetus to the brand founded in 2008 and redefine accessible luxury. A revival that includes the opening of its new flagship on the Champs-Élysées and the expansion of the brand into the art world through The Kooples Art Prize.

Marc Beyney-Sonier, artistic director of The Kooples Art Prize, Thomas Conchou, guest curator, and Emily Marant, director of The Kooples Art Prize, image courtesy of Jean du Sartel Heintz - The Kooples

Through the new award, the brand intends to showcase its unique identity and invite emerging artists to share their vision of the world. “If the brand is evolving, its new prize will allow it to move on to a new level," explains Capucine Safyurtlu, Creative Director in the press release. "The dialogue with the contemporary art scene will allow us to tell a story that will go much further in terms of its radical approach and creativity."

For the debut edition The Kooples Art Prize, the jury consisted of: Julien Blanpied, collaborator in temporary exhibitions at the Mac Val museum, Thomas Conchou, guest curator, Anna Labouze & Keimis Henni, founders of Aragon and artistic directors of the Magasins généraux, Anissa Touati, curator of the Paris International Fair, Marie Schott, CEO of The Kooples, and Capucine Safyurtlu, creative director.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.FR, and translated from French into English by Veerle Versteeg.

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The kooples art prize