Christopher Kane has sewn up the 2011 British Fashion Council/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, the across-the-pond version of Anna Wintour and co.’s wildly successful initiative to boost young design talent. Now in its second year, the BFC/Vogue award provides the winner with £200,000 (at current exchange, just a few dollars over the stateside $300,000 purse) and access to industry mentors—although Kane has already found a champion in Donatella Versace, who in 2006 snapped up the Scottish-born designer’s Central Saint Martins graduate collection and later tapped him to reimagine her house’s long-shuttered diffusion line, Versus.
Also shortlisted for the award were Charlotte Olympia, E. Tautz, Jonathan Saunders, Nicholas Kirkwood, OSMAN, Peter Pilotto, and Richard Nicoll. Kane was selected as the winner based on his business plan and a presentation to a judging panel chaired by Vogue UK editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman. “The prize enables us to implement our strategic vision for the Christopher Kane business going forward,” said Kane in a statement issued by the BFC. He has described the next two years as a particularly exciting time for his London-based company, with plans to broaden the collections without sacrificing his love for detail and embellishment. Meanwhile, his fall 2011 collection, which will hit the runway on February 21 during London Fashion Week, is bound to surprise and entrance. For Kane, “It’s always good to move out of your comfort zone each season, to learn new things and to challenge your senses.”