Belgian fashion designer Christian Wijnants was announced the winner of the 2013 International Woolmark Prize during the London Fashion Week, Feb.17.
The global fashion contest honors pieces created in merino wool and Wijnants successfully impressed the judging panel that included designers like Victoria Beckham, Diane von Furstenberg, Donatella Versace and Franca Sozzani, with his creativity and elegance.
Wijnants' capsule merino wool collection was based on the idea of starting from a single white yarn in 100% merino made into seamless garments. These included knitted one piece ensembles like mini dresses and jumpers. He used the concept of hand-knitting and dyeing using deep colors inspired by crystals and minerals to attain unique shades and avoid shrinkage.
"Christian invented a new shape and made it possible with an industrial production process," noted Sozzani , editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia and L'Uomo Vogue. "His designs are flattering, feminine and sexy, a modern interpretation of wool."
With this title the Belgian star will receive a cash prize of $105,000 and come fall 2013, his collection will be carried by famed retailers in the United States, Australia, UK, Italy and China.
"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," said Stuart McCullough, managing director of The Woolmark Company.
Other finalists for the event were Dion Lee from Australia, Sophie Theallet from USA, DRESSEDUNDRESSED from Japan, Ban Xiao Xue from China and Indian duo Pankaj and Nidhi.
The Woolmark Prize is also credited with pushing forward the careers of industry giants Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent in the 50s.
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