Melbourne Fashion Festival National Designer Award 2017 winner Kacey Devlin (center) flanked by models in her winning collection.

SYDNEY — Sydney-based women’s wear designer Kacey Devlin has won the 2017 National Designer Award at the launch of the 22nd edition of the retail-focused Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, which runs for the next 19 days at venues in and around Melbourne.

Revealed Wednesday morning at the Bourke Street, Melbourne flagship of Australian department store chain David Jones, the award comes with a prize pool valued at more than 100,000 Australian dollars, or $76,808, including 15,000 Australian dollars, or $11,521, in cash.

As part of the prize, looks from Devlin’s winning winter 2017 collection will be included in David Jones’ March 14 gala runway presentation during the festival and a future collection will be featured in one of the Australian Fashion Chamber’s upcoming Australian Designers Abroad showrooms in Paris.

Lois Hazel, Anna Quan, Third Form, Kloke and Exinfinitas were the other 2017 finalists and the judging panel was comprised of VAMFF chief executive officer Graeme Lewsey, David Jones group executive merchandise David Collins, Harper’s Bazaar Australia editor in chief Kellie Hush and 2016 National Designer Award winners Beth and Tessa Macgraw.

Now in its 21st year, the VAMFF National Designer Award is one of Australia’s most prestigious emerging designer competitions, with previous winners including Josh Goot, Dion Lee, Toni Maticevski, Strateas.Carlucci and Macgraw.

After graduating from the University of Technology Sydney in 2012 with a bachelor of design degree, Devlin launched her Kacey/Devlin label in 2014 and sells through a dozen Australian stockists and the Australian label specialist Aust boutique in Venice Beach, Calif.

Known for her soft, deconstructed tailoring and luxury sport aesthetic, Devlin took the cues for her winning collection — which included deconstructed pleated merino kilts, fluid silk skirts and a long-sleeved wool crepe jacket with the label’s signature exposed back — from the merino looks she created as a finalist in the 2016/2017 regional finals of the International Woolmark Prize.

Devlin was also a finalist for last year’s National Designer Award and the Australian Fashion Laureate’s Emerging Designer category.

The VAMFF award, said Devlin, “provides so much opportunity, not only for growth, which is so exciting, [as] we’re embarking on our international growth, but also I guess the opportunity and the confidence that it gives for us to know that we definitely have a place here in the Australian fashion landscape and also overseas.”

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