The final has returned to the French capital and will take place at Palais De Tokyo. First hosted in 1953, the prize was known then as the International Wool Secretariat and was awarded to Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent the following year. The company will be presenting both the men’s wear and women’s wear finals into one presentation for the first time.
Six women’s wear designers and six men’s wear designers were selected and the final contestants will showcase their capsule collections designed in Merino wool.
For women’s wear, the contestants are Faustine Steinmetz (British Isles), Gabriela Hearst (United States), MacGraw (Australia and New Zealand), Nachiket Barve (India, Pakistan and Middle East), Tim Labenda (Europe) and Toton (Asia).
For men’s wear the contestants are Bounipun (India, Pakistan and Middle East), Cottweiler (British Isles), Ex Infinitas (Australia and New Zealand), Munn (Asia), Rochambeau (United States) and Tonsure (Europe).
The women’s wear and men’s wear ranges will be reviewed by a panel of judges comprised of industry professionals.
The committee that will judge women’s wear consists of Christiane Arp, editor in chief, Vogue Germany; Anita Barr, group fashion buying director at Harvey Nichols; Victoria Beckham; Damian Burke, general manager of women’s wear at David Jones; singer and actress Lou Doillon; Miroslava Duma, founder of Buro 24/7; fashion consultant Julie Gilhart; Joanna Gunn, chief brand officer at Lane Crawford; Bouchra Jarrar, creative director at Lanvin; Suzanne Koller, contributing editor at Vogue Paris; Natalie Massenet, chair of the British Fashion Council; Stuart McCullough, managing director of The Woolmark Company; Virginie Mouzat, fashion and lifestyle editor in chief of Vanity Fair; Suzanne Timmins, senior vice president and fashion Director of Hudson’s Bay Company; Lena Jabbour Matta, cofounder and cochief executive officer of Boutique 1 Group, and Elizabeth Von Guttman, founder of System Magazine.
Meanwhile, for men’s wear, the team will include names such as Benn McGregor, men’s wear buyer for Harvey Nichols; Jefferson Hack, chief executive officer and cofounder of Dazed Media; Stefano Tonchi, editor in chief of W Magazine; Leilah Weinraub, chief executive officer of Hood By Air; Nelson Mui, vice president and men’s fashion director of Hudson’s Bay Company, and Olivier Lalanne, deputy editor of Vogue Paris and editor in chief of Vogue Hommes.
The finalists were selected from more than 70 nominees.
“As the world’s best emerging design talent continue to demonstrate what an essential fiber Merino wool is to the luxury fashion world, so do the illustrious judges who champion our premium fibre and throw their support behind the coveted awards,” said The Woolmark Company managing director Stuart McCullough. “Each year we have garnered support from the world’s best fashion designers, finest editors and retail buyers to ensure the future of fashion remains innovative and dynamic.”
The winner of the women’s and men’s International Woolmark Prize will receive 100,000 Australian dollars, or about $75,388, at current exchange, to aid their business and will receive mentor support. Their capsule collection will also be sold in global stores through the company’s retail partnerships.
In addition, the company has tapped film director Isaac Lock and British photographer Rankin on a film campaign which will include industry names such as Jefferson Hack and Carmen Kass and will feature pieces from the finalists. The trailer was released on Jan. 18.