Natalie Massenet, Chairman of the British Fashion Council opened the event; a judging panel including Victoria Beckham, Donatella Versace, Diane von Furstenberg, Franca Sozzani and Tim Blanks selected the winner.
“Christian invented a new shape and made it possible with an industrial production process,” explained Franca Sozzani, Editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia and L’Uomo Vogue. “His designs are flattering, feminine and sexy, a modern interpretation of wool.”
After a global search spanning 12 months, reaching across 16 countries and involving more than 70 designers, six finalists representing Australia, China, Europe, India, Japan and the USA competed for the final international prize – of $100,000 AUD and the opportunity to be stocked in the most important boutiques around the globe including Harvey Nichols – London, Bergdorf Goodman – NY, 10 Corso Como – Milan, Joyce – China, David Jones – Sydney and Eickhoff Königsallee – Germany.
The six finalists were:
Dion Lee - Australia
Ban Xiao Xue - China
Christian Wijnants - Europe (Belgium)
Pankaj and Nidhi - India
DRESSEDUNDRESSED - Japan
Sophie Theallet - USA
The Woolmark Company Managing Director, Stuart McCullough said, “The International Woolmark Prize seeks outstanding and emerging talent from around the world, and we saw exceptional artisanship and design presented tonight. The prize is our commitment to supporting the future of the fashion industry and we are honoured to have received support from the global industry by way of our premier retail partners and judges both at the international and regional level.”
Christian Wijnants’ capsule Merino wool collection featured at the awards was based on the simple idea of starting from a single white yarn and to explore all its potential. The designer worked with one type of yarn in 100% Merino Wool, on seamless garments, knitted in one piece.
The leading theme was based on hand-knitting and hand-dyeing techniques, using deep colours inspired by crystals and minerals, and experimenting to obtain unique shades and avoid shrinkage. Every piece was dyed with innovative techniques, and some of them unravelled and then re-knitted to create a unique irregular effect.
The collection will be available in partner retailers globally as of September 2013.
The final award event featured NEXT Models, with make-up by MAC and hair by Lyndell Mansfield and team at CLM thanks to Bumble & Bumble. Official airline partner for the event was Qantas.
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