By  on November 5, 2010

ZURICH — Mary Katrantzou won the 2010 Swiss Textiles Award at a lavish ceremony here, scooping up the prize of 100,000 euros, or $142,150 at current exchange rates, aimed at helping the winner launch an international career.

Katrantzou, who is of Greek origin, was selected Thursday night by an eight-member judging panel for her featured spring 2011 bold, eye-catching patterns and playful graphic art, including trompe l’oeil; for instance, the image of a furnished room on her dresses. Katrantzou beat five other finalists, including Adam Kimmel from the U.S., U.K.-based Nigerian Duro Olowu and Korea’s Juun J.

“I cried backstage, so I think that says it all. It’s a very prestigious award, very international, it places you on a different level. It’s like a career benchmark,” said Katrantzou when given the award by last year’s winner, Alexander Wang, who also presented his latest collection. Katrantzou, who is U.K. based, graduated from Central Saint Martins in London and presented her first collection at London Fashion Week in 2009.

The Swiss Textiles Award was one of the highlights of the four-day Charles Vögele Fashion Days, a newly launched event that is turning financial hub Zurich into a catwalk. Around 20 international and local brands are being showcased at the event.

Celebrity designers and sisters Penélope and Monica Cruz opened the show on Wednesday with the world premiere of their Biaggini Violett collection of retro romantic daywear and dreamy cocktail and little black dresses. The sisters were contracted to design more than 50 outfits for the Swiss fashion group Charles Vögele, mixing sophisticated cotton fabrics and denim, silk and viscose, with an overall maritime tone. While Penélope could not make it to Zurich, her sister attended the opening show in front of about 1,000 guests.

“It’s a very feminine collection that can suit different types of women, each with different styles, from 20-year-old girls to more mature women,” Monica Cruz told WWD. “It was easy to work together with Penélope and very funny. There is a special sister relationship and we enjoy working together.”

The Fashion Days, at its first edition, aims to help position the Swiss high-end market on the industry map through public events. Most shows were sold out, as were VIP tickets selling at 300 Swiss francs, or $304.

“The aim is to establish Zurich as a booming and credible fashion hub and attract interest with a consumer event. There are no buyers coming to see the collections,” said Maia Guarnaccia, vice president of event organizer IMG Fashion Europe. “We provide a 360-degree view on Zurich.”

Several luxury brands such as Chanel, Prada, Dior, Salvatore Ferragamo and Giorgio Armani line Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse, one of Europe’s top three most expensive streets — according to the Retail Market Study 2010 of Location Group Zurich.

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