Five women’s wear designers are vying to win the International Woolmark Prize, which will be decided in Beijing on March 17.
The finalists are Augustin Teboul from Germany; VMAJOR from China; Lebanon’s Bird on a Wire; Strateas.Carlucci from Australia and M.Patmos from the U.S.
The five finalists will present their Australian Merino wool collections in a fashion show at Beijing’s JE Mansion pavilion. The winner will receive 100,000 Australian dollars, or about $78,000 at current exchange, and the opportunity to have their collection stocked at retailers such as Harvey Nichols in Great Britain; 10 Corso Como in Italy; Saks Fifth Avenue in the U.S.; Joyce in Hong Kong; David Jones in Australia and Mytheresa.com.
First held in 1953 as an initiative of the International Wool Secretariat, the following year the award was won by both Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent. The prize was revived three years ago to promote a fresh crop of fashion designers showcasing the benefits of working with Australian Merino Wool. Today, over 60 designers from more than 20 countries take part each year.
The five women’s wear finalists were selected during regional finals held in Asia, Australia, Europe, India and the Middle East, and the USA.
Judges for the finals include Victoria Beckham; Angelica Cheung, editor at large, Vogue China; Franca Sozzani, editor in chief of Vogue Italia and L’Uomo Vogue; Colin McDowell, fashion journalist; Anita Barr, group fashion buying director, Harvey Nichols; Colleen Sherin, vice president, fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue; Justin O’Shea, buying director, Mytheresa.com; Malcolm Carfrae, global head of communications, public relations and media at Ralph Lauren Corp., and Sophie Clark, women’s wear general manager, David Jones.
Here, the finalists offer WWD an exclusive sketch of one of their looks and a photo of the finished product.
VMAJOR — China
Designers Victor Zhu and Nicole Lin learned their craft at separate design schools in London and met while interning at Vivienne Westwood. After graduating in 2006, the duo returned to Shenzhen, where they launched VMAJOR, which draws on their cultural origins while striving for international appeal.
STRATEAS.CARLUCCI — Australia
This line is a collaboration between Australian designers Peter Strateas and Mario Luca Carlucci. It was launched in fall 2013 to a select number of buyers in Paris. The line features high-tech fabrics, sharp cuts and construction.
AUGUSTIN TEBOUL — Germany
This line is a collaboration between French Odély Teboul and German Annelie Augustin. Inspired by Surrealism, the label launched in 2010 and uncovers the variations and shadows of the color black. The designers graduated in 2006 with honors at ESMOD Paris. Augustin went to work for Yohji Yamamoto for Adidas and Teboul worked for Jean Paul Gaultier.
BIRD ON A WIRE — Lebanon
Beirut-based fashion designer Rayya Morcos began her fashion apprenticeship at Maison Rabih Kayrouz. After obtaining a fashion design degree from ESMOD in Beirut, she joined Maison Rabih Kayrouz, where she was head of design from 2006 to 2011. In 2009, she founded her own label, Bird on a Wire, which takes an architectural perspective and combines new technology and materials to create contemporary clothes.
M. PATMOS — USA
Launched by designer Marcia Patmos in 2011, M.PATMOS is a ready-to-wear collection focused on function and timeless layers rendered in architectural and modern silhouettes.