Toni Maticevski

SYDNEY — Toni Maticevski has been named the 2016 Australian Fashion Laureate.

The Australian Fashion Laureate Awards are a joint initiative between Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia organizer IMG Fashion Asia Pacific and the NSW government and recognize outstanding contribution to the industry, with the Australian Fashion Laureate the top honor. The winner was announced Wednesday at a lunch at the Sydney Opera House.

The win tops off a banner year for the 40 year-old Melburnian, who is currently the subject of a retrospective called Maticevski: Dark Wonderland at Victoria’s Bendigo Art Gallery until Nov. 20. He is also the focus of a new monograph called “Maticevski: The Elegant Rebel” by Sydney writer Mitchell Oakley Smith and published by Thames & Hudson Australia.  

The award resonated “emotionally,” said Maticevski after the presentation. “[Knowing] that my peers voted for me, that they’ve acknowledged that all of us work our asses off to be visible internationally and to be there every season and to kind of make this industry really strong.”

A graduate of Melbourne’s RMIT, Maticevski interned at Donna Karan, before moving to Paris to work for Cerruti for two seasons and returning home to launch his business in 1999. Noted for his sculptural, dramatic cocktail dresses and eveningwear, Maticevski said that exports now account for 70 percent of his business, selling through 75 international stockists including Harrods, Selfridges, Intermix and Lane Crawford China and Hong Kong.

Previous Australian Fashion Laureates include MBFWA founder Simon Lock and designers Akira Isogawa, Zimmermann, Carla Zampatti and Condé Nast veteran Nancy Pilcher.

Paris-based Ellery won the 2016 Australian Fashion Laureate Best Women’s Wear category, with Melbourne’s Strataeas.Carlucci named the Best Men’s Wear brand, while Paddington, Sydney boutique Parlour X was named Best Retailer.

Macgraw was named Best Emerging Designer, the fourth award for the Sydney sister duo Tessa and Beth MacGraw this year, after taking home the 2016 Tiffany & Co National Designer Award, the BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award and the 2016/2017 International Woolmark Prize’s regional finalist category for women’s wear.

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