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Beyond the Bale : Aug - Sep 08
WOOlmArk beyond the bAle Inaugural Woolmark Prize showcases Australian Merino wool Open to recently graduated, professionally active fashion designers, the Woolmark Prize is just one of AWI’s initiatives to regenerate interest in wool A ustralian Merino wool was showcased to the world’s fashion media in July when the 2008 winner of the inaugural Woolmark Prize was presented at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. The aim of the Woolmark Prize is to underscore the importance of Merino wool to the fashion world by recognising, rewarding and showcasing emerging talents and cutting-edge creativity that emphasises the sensual, sculptural aspects of knit. The original wool awards were held between 1954 and 1992 by the International Wool Secretariat (IWS). The Woolmark Prize takes up where IWS left off, upholding the original foundations on which the award was built: excellence, innovation and distinction. The Woolmark Prize represents the first of many AWI initiatives focused on enhancing the presence and value of the Woolmark portfolio. Over the next three years AWI will be repositioning the Woolmark brand and establishing Australian Merino wool as one of the most exciting fibres available today, unique for its natural, biodegradable and sustainable qualities. AWI chief executive Craig Welsh says AWI sees the Woolmark Prize as an opportunity to support the future of design and, at the same time, showcase to the world Australian Merino wool at its best and most innovative. “It is with great pleasure that AWI once again brings the honour and prestige of such an international prize to assist emerging talent so that they may occupy a solid place in the global apparel industry,” Mr Welsh says. “It is also a way to assist future designers and consumers to understand the great benefits of Australian Merino wool being natural, biodegradable and sustainable, which makes it one of the most exciting natural fibres available today.” “It’s a wonderful time to relaunch the Woolmark Prize,” says Sally Singer, fashion news/feature director of US Vogue, global fashion expert and 2008 awards judge. “The list of finalists was exceptional and reflects the innovation and rigour that a new generation of designers is investing in their work. Artisanal work in fashion The winning design of the 2008 Woolmark Prize on show amongst the designs of the other finalists at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; (below) the 2008 Woolmark Prize finalists. is always going to be synonymous with knitwear, and it’s the time to buy luxurious things that are made and designed with care.” Sonia Rykiel, patron of the Woolmark Prize, announced that China’s Qiu Hao would now join design greats Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Romeo Gigli, Dolce & Gabbana and Giorgio Armani in the Woolmark hall of fame, as the 2008 winner of the Woolmark Prize. As the winner of the 2008 prize Qiu Hao will receive significant industry support, invaluable to an emerging designer. AWI will provide aid and expertise in sourcing material, production, presentation and promotion of a collection. High-end Paris boutique, Colette, has agreed to carry exclusive stock of a limited-edition garment. Before attending Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, the 30-year-old Shanghai designer graduated in interior design from Suzhou University. Since his 2006 debut, Qiu Hao has consistently supplied razor-sharp tailoring and smooth deconstruction in a largely monochromatic colour palette. Each collection is balanced by a measure of softness – a curve, a texture, a physical motion – that eschews the obvious. Open to young designers who have recently graduated and are already professionally active, the Woolmark Prize was conceived to help nurture those most in need: the fashion designer on the cusp of commercial credibility. For the inaugural Woolmark Prize 2008, designers from cultures as diverse as China, Japan, Norway, England, Belgium, Germany and France were selected by an international panel of fashion experts to participate. The Woolmark Prize will be awarded annually and aims to be one of the most sought-after prizes for up-and- coming global designers. Entries for the 2009 Woolmark Prize will open in October 2008. more information: www.woolmark.com/prize ú PhOTOs:GuIllAume rOujAs
Jun - July 08
Oct - Nov 08