3 posts tagged "ffiXXed"
Today in Milan, a panel of judges including Style.com’s Tim Blanks, Franca Sozzani, Angelica Cheung, Frida Giannini, Colin McDowell, and Alexa Chung selected the winner of the coveted International Woolmark Prize. Competitors included the States’ Joseph Altuzarra (who will be sending us a diary chronicling his experience), the U.K.’s Sibling, Asia’s Ffixxed, Australia’s Christopher Esber, and Rahul Mishra, who represented India and the Middle East. So which talent won the judges’ affections? That would be Mishra. Having shown a lineup focused on embroidery, the designer will take home $100,000 AU in prize money, and his Woolmark collection will be stocked in such retailers as Saks Fifth Avenue, 10 Corso Como, Harvey Nichols, and Joyce.
Shu Pei working a trim merino tuxedo is a sight for sore eyes—and it’s one that we were privy to last week when Joseph Altuzarra invited Style.com to his fourth-floor studio in Tribeca. The occasion was the lookbook shoot for his International Woolmark Prize capsule, which he’ll present to an esteemed panel of judges (including Franca Sozzani, Frida Giannini, and Style.com’s Tim Blanks) during Milan fashion week on February 21. As the victor of the national competition, which he won with a baby pink wool suit back in July, Altuzarra will represent the U.S. in the final round and compete against the U.K.’s Sibling, India’s Rahul Mishra, Australia’s Christopher Esber, and China’s ffiXXed for a grand prize of 100,000 AUD. “It’s an incredibly prestigious award,” said the designer, who recently sold a minor stake of his company to Kering. “Winning would be a great accomplishment for my team and me—and obviously, the cash prize would be very helpful.” He told us that the spoils would go toward expanding fabric production and development.
Judging by the woolly looks we saw on the designer’s rolling racks, he’s got a fighting chance. Comprising of clever knit dresses, a fit-and-flare black coat, layered skirt and sweater ensembles, and Pei’s tux, the mini collection is simultaneously signature Altuzarra and not, mainly because he experimented with a new (for him) method: needle-punching, a practice that seamlessly bonds two fabrics together via a gradual woven transition (see a sneak peek of the effect, above). “It’s not normally a technique I would use because it has a very different association than what the Altuzarra world is,” he explained. “It’s a bit crafty, and almost a little hippie in spirit.” However, there’s nothing “hippie” about Pei’s tux (or the rest of the collection, for that matter), which boasts the flippy little peplum we’ve often seen from the designer. In this instance, the needle-punching was used for the jacket’s fuzzy back panel. (It looks deceptively like fur.) Elsewhere, it was employed to create a degrade effect on frocks that are fuzzy on top and sheer on the bottom, and fuse bulky, textured knits with smooth, solid fabrics.
As for inspiration, Altuzarra ended up doing some thorough historical research. “Obviously, we were thinking about wool,” said the designer of the 100 percent merino collection. “But we wanted to work inside the Altuzarra vernacular, which is quite sexy, sensual, and seductive. I started thinking about how iconic wool garments were, and how they’ve been staples over time.” His key references were fishermen’s knits; 1950s skirt suits; and Brigitte Bardot’s soft, saucy sweaters (see his mood board, left). The latter motivated him to include a soft pink in his palette. Black, gray, and neutral hues are also in the mix. “I wanted to focus on technique, and the colors are quite pale so that you could really see what’s happening,” he said.
Altuzarra offered that he’s looking forward to meeting Woolmark’s other four finalists. Competition is bound to be fierce, but Altuzarra is hoping Pei, who will be accompanying him to Milan, turns out to be his ace in the hole. “When I first started and did my very first show, I cast her,” said Altuzarra. “She was the biggest model we had, so I was very, very, very excited. And I actually realized three seasons ago that I haven’t had a show without her since. She’s my good-luck charm.”
Check back next month to see Altuzarra’s exclusive diary from the competition.
Woolmark continues to announce its 2014 finalists this week, revealing today that two-time nominee Christopher Esber will represent Australia in the Oz-based wool brand’s international competition—the winner of which will be announced during Milan fashion week in February. Esber—who’s been pegged as one of Australia’s most exciting up-and-comers—will go head-to-head with labels from around the globe, such as Sibling, which will compete for the U.K., ffiXXed, a Shenzhen-based design collective that took the Asian finals, and our hometown pick, Joseph Altuzarra, who won the U.S. leg of the competition last week. The victor will take home $100,000 AUD and be stocked in stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, 10 Corso Como, and Harvey Nichols.