By  on July 12, 2012

“I feel like Heidi Klum!” said Alber Elbaz, who took to the stage in London on Thursday to announce the European regional winner of the International Woolmark Prize. “One of you will win. You’re either in — or you’re out!” he said, mimicking the model who hosts “Project Runway.” “Honestly, the debate was extremely heated — so those who didn’t win, please don’t take it too hard.”

Elbaz handed the prize to 34-year-old Belgian designer Christian Wijnants, whose winning design was a chunky sweater dress made to look as if it had been tie-dyed. “I am very, very surprised and honored. The other candidates were really great and I am happy to have participated,” the designer said. Wijnants shows his ready-to-wear collection in Paris and has more than 60 stockists around the world, including Colette. Judges, including British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman and designers Giles Deacon and Dean and Dan Caten, chose from among 17 designers across 11 European countries, all of whom were asked to create designs using merino wool.

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