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Beyond the Bale : June 2017
AN ENDURING RELATIONSHIP WITH WOOL The International Woolmark Prize imbues the participating designers -- and judges -- with a long-term knowledge and love of wool that is continuing throughout their professional lives. Here are examples of the latest womenswear collections from some of the International Woolmark Prize alumni that have recently been on show at Fashion Weeks across the world. DION LEE 2012/13 FINALIST Dion Lee, who won the Australia regional final for 2012/13, regularly uses wool in his collections. Tailoring is the forte of this young Australian- born designer, so it's no surprise that his Autumn/Winter 2017 collection felt perfectly on-trend in a womenswear season that seems unofficially dedicated to the exploration of how women can wear suiting. Here, the designer used double-faced Merino wool in garments that were cleverly folded and layered, such as with sleeveless coat dresses with flap pockets, safari jackets with epaulettes, and oversized full-length, peak-lapel coats. GABRIELA HEARST 2016/17 WOMENSWEAR WINNER Although based in New York, International Woolmark Prize winning designer Gabriela Hearst was raised on a Uruguayan Merino stud, so she has a great appreciation for the fibre. In her first show, Hearst further explored some of the ideas laid out in her International Woolmark Prize capsule collection, with wool coats nipped in at the waist to give an hourglass silhouette, off-the-shoulder button-down wool dresses (worn atop ultra-lightweight wool bodysuits), and her signature two-piece power suit, shown above in rich red Merino wool. JASON WU 2016/17 AUSTRALIA REGION JUDGE At New York Fashion Week, Taiwanese- born American designer Jason Wu showcased a collection of wool pieces for Spring/Summer 2017. "Wool is a staple in my work. I think a lot of us think of wool for a fall/winter collection, but lightweight, featherweight wools are becoming very important," he said. In his new collection, the designer presented a series of expertly tailored pieces in easy-to-wear Merino wool. Special finishes, such as metallic taffeta pleats and banding, added a sense of summery femininity to the pieces. J KOO 2015/16 WOMENSWEAR FINALIST Former International Woolmark Prize finalist label J KOO unveiled its Autumn/ Winter 2018 collection, at Seoul Fashion Week in March. Headed by Jinwoo Choi and Yeonjoo Koo, after whom the label is named, J KOO has become known for its contemporary take on classic suiting. This aesthetic is evident in the latest collection, which is a fusion of feminine and street styles. "Wool plays a key element in this collection, and what we really wanted to do with the fibre was to show its versatility beyond the traditional," the designers said. A design from Gabriela Hearst at New York Fashion Week in February. A design from Dion Lee at New York Fashion Week in February. A design from Jason Wu at New York Fashion Week in September. A design from J KOO that was released at Seoul Fashion Week in March. OFF FARM 21