The CFDAs 2014: A preview of the key nominees

The CFDAs 2014: A preview of the key nominees

Ahead of the main event on June 2

Editor: Buro 24/7

Image: WWD

Buro 24/7 profiles six key design talents – coincidentally an all-male line up – in the prestigious categories of 'Best Womenswear Designer' and 'Best Menswear Designer' of the year, before the huge awards ceremony takes place on June 2 in New York

The Best Womenswear Designer | The Nominees

Alexander Wang is enjoying a status of one of the most exciting talents in New York, a sentiment only heightened by his role as the creative force behind Balenciaga in Paris (and more recently, Beijing), and the recent news that the designer would be H&M's next collaborator.

"When I approach the collections, I like to think about it in a less specific context and a connection to something that feels right 'now,' yet has a familiarity to it," he explains. "I constantly strive to build and find a balance between the construction, the design and the approachability to garments."

Joseph Altuzarra has – unsurprisingly – also enjoyed a good year. In September 2013 he showed a stunning SS14 collection, a highlight of the season, inspired by the Japanese patchwork technique of Boro, and his AW14 offering was as compelling with artisanal craftsmanship and colourful fur.

"We explored new ideas of ease and comfort, while continuing to develop our signature tailoring," says Altuzarra, who won the 2011 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and 2012 Swarovski Award for Womenswear.

"Let's do what we love, and do a lot of it," says Marc Jacobs, recalling his approach to SS14. His inspiration was the Leading Player of Pippin, who challenges the young royal's life choices.

The designer presented a selection of Victoriana with a surf-heavy subplot (the set was a destroyed beach) and piles of decorative excess, down to the elaborately distressed sneakers.

Fast forward to AW14 and his models walked beneath an Armory sky of 400 pillow clouds –at first delightfully fluffy but increasingly ominous as the light changed – to Jessica Lange's eerie recitation of the Depression-era anthem Happy Days Are Here Again.

The Best Menswear Designer | The Nominees

Reigning CFDA 'Menswear Designer of the Year' winner Thom Browne continues to push men's fashion forward. Since introducing his first ready-to-wear collection in 2003, the designer's slimline silhouettes and short trousers have had a huge influence on men's style.

Browne is launching a collection for AW14, called simply 'Thom Browne' that will centre on the grey suit.

Public School's Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne want to make it something clear, their brand is not street wear. "People incorrectly refer to us as streetwear, but the brand isn't streetwear at all," Chow says. "We take reference from New York as a street-based city, but we aren't chasing trends or commenting on what's going on in culture. Our DNA is in mixing high and low, mixing different worlds, referencing and creating fabric combinations, but making it with a versatility and practicality to it."

A huge amount of praise has been pushed in the direction of Marcus Wainwright and David Neville of Rag & Bone, known for combining British heritage with a modern American sensibility...

In 2006, the British partners were finalists for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award; the next year, they took the Swarovski Award for emerging talent in men's wear. In 2010, the CFDA honoured the duo as Menswear Designers of the Year, and last year, they won the Breakthrough Award at the ACE (Accessories Council of Excellence) Awards.