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Robert Geller was named the winner of GQ's Best New Menswear Designer in America competition for 2009, receiving a cash prize of $50,000 and the opportunity to create a limited-edition capsule collection for Levi's that will be sold on Levi.com and at select Bloomingdale's locations this September. The program is a partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Geller beat out fellow finalists André Benjamin of Benjamin Bixby, Alex Carleton of Rogues Gallery, David Mullen of Save Khaki, Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos of Shipley & Halmos and Yigal Azrouël. All six finalists were feted at a party at Rockefeller Center on Wednesdsay evening, where each designer outfitted a tableux vivant of top male models in their fall '09 collections.
On hand to check out the displays were fellow designers, including Tommy Hilfiger, Kenneth Cole, John Bartlett, Calvin Klein's Italo Zuchelli, Peter Som, Johan Lindeberg, Rachel Roy, David Chu, Michael Bastian, Scott Sternberg of Band of Outsiders, Steven Alan, John Whitledge of Trovata, Scott Morrison of Earnest Sewn and Philip Crangi. Also spotted in the large crowd was David Lauren (sporting a leg brace), Katie Lee Joel and Chace Crawford of "Gossip Girl."
Asked what he would do with the cash award, Geller said he would invest in the future of the collection. "I'm going to put it right back into the company, and make sure I have a nice presentation next season," he said. "I'm really happy with how things are going, but the money will be great to help make sure that it can continue."
Geller isn't a stranger to industry accolades, as he was a partner for five seasons with Alexandre Plokhov in the now-defunct, but once celebrated Cloak men's wear label. He launched the Robert Geller men¹s wear label in fall 2007, and it is now sold in about 60 stores including Odin, Kesner, Jake and Lane Crawford.
The judging panel for the GQ prize was comprised of designer Thom Browne; Steve Evans, vice-president of merchandising at Levi's; Kevin Harter, vice-president of fashion direction for men's, home and young world at Bloomingdale's; Steven Kolb, executive director of the CFDA; Jim Nelson, editor-in-chief of GQ, and Jim Moore, creative director of GQ.