PARIS — Rodarte won the Swiss Textiles Award, scooping up 100,000 euros, about $125,000 at current exchange, in funding to be used toward the international development of their brand.

This story first appeared in the November 17, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Up against finalists Louise Goldin, Jean-Pierre Braganza, TOGA, Cathy Pill and Richard Nicoll, who all presented their spring collections in Zurich on Thursday, Rodarte is the first American brand to win the annual prize, now in its ninth session, with Doo-Ri Chung being the only other U.S. designer to have been nominated, back in 2006.

“Showing here felt magical. After three years working as an independent brand, it’s amazing to have this support just as we’ve reached the point where [we] understand where we’re going,” said Rodarte’s Laura Mulleavy, who codesigns the label with her sister, Kate. On a prize-winning roll, in June the pair picked up the CFDA Swarovski award for emerging talent.

The money boost will allow for more playful design experimentation, Mulleavy said. Ten thousand euros of the prize money, or about $12,500 at current exchange, is to be spent on Swiss fabrics, a condition set by the Swiss Textile Federation, which sponsors the event. Akris designer Albert Kriemler acted as the president of the jury.

While in Zurich, the pair sneaked off from preparing for their show to check out Marc Chagall’s stained glass windows at the city’s Fraumünster church. “Only since the past two seasons have we realized how much we’re into color,” said Mulleavy, adding the late artist’s saturated hues may well surface in a future collection.

Bruno Pieters, Raf Simons, Marious Schwab and Haider Ackermann are among past recipients of the Swiss Textiles Award.

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