At the Taj Mahal, a Regional Woolmark Prize Victor Is Chosen-------
ANDAM. The LVMH Prize. CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. The fashion industry is awash in awards these days. But of all the prizes for emerging designers, none has a more hallowed history than the one given out by Woolmark, which anointed both Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld in the 1950s. Since its relaunch in 2013, Woolmark’s International Prize has been good to its name, first feting Christian Wijnants of Belgium, and next tapping New Delhi-based Rahul Mishra in February of this year. Last week, on Wednesday, the competition geared up for another round of regionals, gathering together up-and-coming designers from India and the Middle East at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai.
Mishra was on hand for the event, and he wasn’t just there to take a victory lap. He was one of the region’s judges, alongside The Business of Fashion founder Imran Amed and Vogue India senior fashion features editor Priyanka Khanna, among others, and the gala dinner at the Taj was capped by some brief catwalking of Mishra’s new capsule collection for luxury e-tailer MyTheresa (pictured, above). The MyTheresa pieces featured soigné, Western-style silhouettes, and intricate embroidery that nodded to India’s tradition in handicraft. Meanwhile, one of the guests at the event could be found wearing a colorful Mishra-designed sari—a key part of his business in a country where traditional dress is still widely favored.
Alas, there were no saris onstage as the regional finalists presented their looks at the dinner. There was, however, menswear, a new category for the Woolmark prize. The Emperor 1688, based in the United Arab Emirates and designed by the three Golkar brothers, was handed the golden ticket to the menswear final in London, and the brand’s natty, well-priced tailoring seems likely to have a global appeal. The womenswear finalist, meanwhile, was Bird on a Wire from Lebanon (pictured, left), and designer Rayya Morcos will go on to that final in Beijing later this year. In the interim, the Woolmark road show travels on: The U.S. regionals take place next week in New York City.