‘I’m Very New in the Fashion World’: EXCLUSIVE

As a juror for the 2021 ANDAM awards, which are to be presented tonight at a ceremony in Paris, Lalisa Manoban did not only spend hours poring over the portfolios the contenders submitted.

The Thai music sensation, known simply as Lisa to Blackpink’s legion of fans, also combed social media to better understand each fashion designer’s aesthetic and style universe.

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Manoban headlines a star-studded list of guest jurors that also includes Chinese singer Chris Lee and fashion designers Kerby Jean-Raymond and Phoebe Philo.

Cédric Charbit, chief executive officer of Balenciaga and the president of this year’s ANDAM jury, decided to fling the door open wide and make this year’s jury more varied, “progressive,” and international, fanning interest in the 32nd edition of the annual design competition, which recently upped the grand prize amount to 300,000 euros from 250,000 euros.

The seven finalists for the main award are GmbH, Wales Bonner, Area, Rokh, Bianca Saunders, Ludovic de Saint-Sernin and Casablanca. There is also a prize for accessories and another for young French brands.

In an exclusive interview with WWD, Manoban expressed her zeal for the project, helping to choose the winners for a prestigious French fashion prize that has been a springboard for the likes of Martin Margiela, Viktor & Rolf, Christophe Lemaire and Jeremy Scott, to name a few.

Here, she also talks about dressing for daily life and the stage, plus her passion for Paris — and shopping vintage online:

WWD: Why did you agree to join the jury for the ANDAM prize?

Lisa Manoban: First of all, I’m very happy and honored to be able to be part of ANDAM this year. I was very surprised when I first got the invitation as a juror. Since I’m very new in the fashion world, I thought this could be quite an adventurous and challenging experience for me at first. But at the same time, I thought it would be an exciting experience and I would learn a lot from this opportunity. So I accepted the offer.

WWD: Was it an easy or difficult task to choose the finalists? What struck you the most about the candidates and their varying visions of fashion?

L.M.: It was very hard. It took me hours to choose! I wasn’t able to make decisions only by looking at portfolios, so I explored all the artists’ social pages to make the final decision. The style and characteristics of each artist’s work were distinctively different. So I could easily catch up with who and whose as I went over all the brands. I think that was a very eye-opening experience.

WWD: Was your evaluation mainly about the clothes and the designs, or also the values and the storytelling that go with it?

L.M.: I looked at the overall things first, then I looked at the design parts more specifically. I believe every judge uses different criteria and values for evaluation; I evaluated works from my perspective, as a singer and an entertainer. I would love to wear clothes that are easy to wear for casual occasions, but at the same time, have special features that are also suitable for stage performances. So I can go on stage with them right away. And I chose the brands that fulfill my needs. Some brands were so interesting that I went to their socials to discover more about them.

WWD: How do you see the role of young fashion designers in popular culture, and why is it important to recognize and support them?

L.M.: Fashion and culture change consistently as time goes by. I think the role of young fashion designers is to experience and understand the fashion and culture of that generation to the fullest and assimilate it into the era. There are many talented and well-known fashion designers in this era already, but we should recognize and support those young designers who will lead the future fashion world.

WWD: What does Paris represent for you when it comes to fashion? What have been some of your most memorable fashion experiences in the French capital, and why?

L.M.: I love Paris. I fell in love with Paris on my first visit. And I fall in love more and more every time I visit. The time I visited Paris for the Celine event, I was fortunate to visit a workshop and got to see how artisans work. I watched artisans embroider on fabric with a very sensitive and delicate touch. Also, thankfully, I got to take pictures with Hedi [Slimane]. It was a very meaningful moment.

WWD: Did you always have very strong tastes and preferences in fashion, or is this something you learned over time?

L.M.: I’ve always loved to wear and play with clothes ever since I was a child. I think my interest in fashion has grown since the 2019 Paris Fashion Week I attended. Fashion is very attractive and fun.

Lisa Manobal. - Credit: Courtesy

Lisa Manobal. – Credit: Courtesy


WWD: How would you describe the Blackpink style, and your particular approach to it?

L.M.: Blackpink sty
le resembles me a lot. Actually it’s just me. So I’ve never had to think or worry about “what should I do to look more like Blackpink?” We, Blackpink, are very close to our stylist, so we talk about concepts and style a lot. We share a lot of ideas about different styles to try and what might suit us.

WWD: What are your favorite fashion eras, designers, brands, style icons, movies or images — and why?

L.M.: I really loved the era from the movie “Midnight in Paris,” which the main character visits. I searched a lot of vintage clothings and accessories on the internet.

WWD: What have you learned about fashion from your affiliation with global brands like Celine, and working with stylists?

L.M.: I admire and respect all the global brands with a long history. Amongst all, witnessing how Hedi took over Celine and brought bold changes was the most impressive thing for me. The overall style of Celine has become younger, fresh and easy even for those who are new in fashion.

WWD: How different are your clothes in everyday life and those you wear for performing? What do you look for in each type of clothing?

L.M.: In everyday life, I usually wear comfortable clothes and shoes — mostly tennis shoes. But when I’m on stage, I like clothes that go well with the songs, and clothes that are fancy and bold.

WWD: Do you collect anything in fashion, like sneakers or handbags? Do you have a weak spot for jewelry, shoes, or some other category?

L.M.: Limited edition or rare items.


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