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September 3 2014

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13 posts tagged "International Woolmark Prize"

Asger Juel Larsen Heats Up the Copenhagen Fashion Scene

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asger-blogJustin O’Shea, the buying director at online luxury store MyTheresa, recently told Reuters that Copenhagen was one of only a few cities that inspired him. “It’s exotic minimalism. Beautiful simplicity is in their DNA. It is not based around high heels and miniskirts,” he said in the article.

It’s that simple elegance that’s starting to turn the heads of fashion insiders, like O’Shea, and consumers alike. (Denmark’s fashion exports have reportedly grown by 16 percent since 2009.) One of the most promising talents of them all is Danish designer Asger Juel Larsen, who won the inaugural menswear award in the Woolmark Europe competition last month, beating out designers like Pavel Ivancic, Vladimir Karaleev, and Cedric Jacquemyn. His judges included Style.com’s Tim Blanks, Colette’s Sarah Andelman, and Hermès’ Véronique Nichanian. “It was a unanimous decision. We were all in agreement about the choice,” Nichanian told WWD of their menswear choice.

On the heels of Larsen’s Spring 2015 “Interrupt Me” runway show in Copenhagen (as part of Copenhagen fashion week, which has just wrapped up), we checked in with the London College of Fashion grad to talk about the changing fashion scene in the Danish capital right now, his decision to leave London for Copenhagen, and more.

ajl-sizedOn the Copenhagen fashion climate right now…“Copenhagen fashion week is one of the biggest in northern Europe—it’s the most interesting in Scandinavia. We have some really strong designers who have been showing for many years, and then some new ones coming from places like London and Amsterdam who are trying a new thing and alternative way of presenting. There’s a very fun energy here right now.”

London vs. Copenhagen aesthetics…“They are definitely the total opposite look. The whole London scene—I think that makes up the craziness of what I do. Obviously, tailoring is a huge part of what I like to do. But I also have my Danish heritage—I used to embroider things with my mom and grandma, and that makes up a big part of who I am as a designer.”

On growing his business…
“I showed at London fashion week when I graduated—I had sponsored shows—then I was either going to do shows for press or go back to Copenhagen and build a company. When I moved from London, I really didn’t want to leave, it’s such an epicenter of fashion. But we are doing it at our own pace, and I’m really glad I did it that way. Eventually, I would also like to have a base in NYC. We are sold at VFiles in New York, H. Lorenzo in L.A., Henrik Vibskov, and lots of places in Scandinavia (obviously). Our biggest business right now is coming from Japan and the U.S. Our diffusion line of basics, A.J.L. Madhouse, is way more affordable, and that’s doing quite well.”

The immediate effects of the Woolmark win…
“I think the show went really well. I think there were a lot more international magazines at the show because of my Woolmark win. Also, lots of buyers have been contacting me. All in all, the news has been everywhere and all the media outlets have covered it. My Google alerts are going mad right now. It looks like the future is going to be hectic.”

On the art of winning a fashion prize…
“I had a really good, but very short, dialogue with the judges. I think they thought the fabrics and the garments I did were unique. I wanted to make a human sheep with the merino wool—we all laughed about that. I didn’t have much schooling on doing a fashion competition, they just selected me and Anne Sofie Madsen to do it. It was just me and my team, trying to make something really pure. You know?”

His dream fashion prize to win…
“To me, Woolmark is everything. There is nothing bigger.”

Photos: Courtesy of Asger Juel Larsen; Copenhagen Fashion Week

Public School and M.Patmos Win the International Woolmark Prize USA Regional Finals

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Maxwell Osborne, Dao-Yi Chow

Following its 2014 CFDA victory, it was perhaps no surprise that fledgling brand Public School, helmed by Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow, were selected as the regional finalists for the inaugural International Woolmark Prize for menswear. As soon as editors and insiders walked into Milk Studios’ penthouse last night, where the regional womenswear winner, M.Patmos, was also announced, it was easy to see which 100 percent merino wool ensemble the duo had turned out for the competition. Their gray high-necked hoodie and shorts look, crafted from boiled, felted wool and trimmed with bonded rubber, was the epitome of the brand’s street-meets-luxury menswear aesthetic. “We were up to our ears in wool!” laughed Chow when asked about creating the outfit. “We wanted to base it on the idea that wool is really the oldest fiber used by humans. We wanted to make something that was timeless and that could be worn in this lost civilization that was between ancient times and a postapocalyptic world.” Menswear judge Alexander Wang (a “formidable debate partner,” according to fellow judge and presenter David Granger, the editor in chief of Esquire) told us that he was looking for someone who had a “unique point of view. [The designers had to] fully understand who [they're] speaking to, what [their] brand is about, and where [they] want to take it.” No doubt, Public School ticked all the boxes. Osborne and Chow will now go on to design a six-piece wool collection, which will be presented when they compete against finalists from Europe, Asia, Australia, and India and the Middle East in London in January of next year. And they feel confident about their chances for taking the $95,000 final prize. “I think we’re cool because we’ve really thought out the six looks,” said Chow. “It’s going to be really sick if we can develop it in the way we conceptualized it.”

M.PatmosThe womenswear winner, who along with the menswear champions took home $47,000, was less of a sure thing—and the competition, which included Rosie Assoulin, Jonathan Simkhai, Nonoo, and Whit, was stiff. But given M.Patmos designer Marcia Patmos’ experience with knits (she used to design them for Lutz & Patmos), firm understanding of her customer, and standout wool getup, this award was, in retrospect, hers to lose. “I was thinking about a woman who was traveling, and she’s possibly going to lose her luggage,” Patmos told us. “She’s going to many countries in different climates, and what she’s wearing has to get her through all situations,” she added of her look, which featured seamless knitting, double-faced tailoring, a vegetable dye painting technique, and hand-knitting. The end result comprised a crisp cream-and-tan overcoat, ribbed stirrup leggings, cropped gray trousers, and a simple sweater dress. Indeed, Patmos’ model looked as though she was ready for anything.

Patmos is more excited than nervous about the 2015 finals in Beijing. And the designer revealed that she’ll be collaborating with artist Ryan McGinness on her upcoming Spring ’15 collection. “We’re doing something really good!” she beamed. We’re looking forward to it.

Photos: BFAnyc.com

European Woolmark Prize Winners Announced: These Are the Designers You Need to Know

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Woolmark The European winners have just been announced for this year’s International Woolmark Prize, which is arguably one of the most venerated awards in the fashion industry. Yesterday, at Paris’ Shangri-La Hotel, Germany’s Augustin Teboul (codesigned by Odély Teboul and Annelie Augustin) and Denmark’s Asger Juel Larsen were selected from ten nominees each in the women’s and men’s categories.

“It was a unanimous decision,” Véronique Nichanian, who designs the men’s collections for Hermès, told WWD. Larsen’s winning men’s look, a voluminous, supersoft cream ensemble, was intended to resemble a “human sheep.” Women’s designer Augustin Teboul, on the other hand, designs only in black. Augustin Teboul and Larsen were both awarded a prize of AU $50,000 (about $44,000 USD) to put toward production and developing their businesses.

Woolmark The European regionals are one of five competitions hosted by Woolmark each year. The other geographical regions include the U.S., Asia, Australia, and the Middle East and India (where Emperor 1688 and Bird on a Wire were just announced as the men’s and women’s finalists). In each region, competitors submit one look each made entirely of merino wool, and a jury of industry leaders selects the winners. This year marks the first time Woolmark has awarded two individual men’s and women’s prizes.

After all finalists have been announced, the men’s designers will convene at London Collections: Men in January to compete for the international final. The women’s designers will meet in Beijing in March. The two overall winners will receive an additional AU $100,000 ($94,000 USD) and will also have the opportunity to sell their collection at international retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Harvey Nichols.

Photos: Courtesy of Woolmark

The International Woolmark Prize Announces U.S. Finalists, Introduces Menswear Category

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International Woolmark Prize - Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Autumn/Winter 2014

Things are changing for this year’s International Woolmark Prize competition. For the first time ever, two designers will be receiving the overall award—one for menswear, one for womenswear—and we’re already placing our bets on the USA nominees, which were announced today. Jonathan Simkhai, M.Patmos, Nonoo, Rosie Assoulin, and Whit will duke it out for womenswear, while A.A. Antonio Azzuolo, Mark McNairy New Amsterdam, Ovadia & Sons, Public School, Timo Weiland, and Todd Snyder will compete for the menswear title. “The addition of a menswear award this year signifies the strength and following of the International Woolmark Prize and its impact over the past two years across the globe,” said Stuart McCullough, The Woolmark Company managing director. “Previous winners Christian Wijnants from Belgium and Rahul Mishra from India have both experienced exponential increase in the turnover of their businesses, becoming international names overnight after their respective wins in London in 2013 and Milan in 2014.”

Regional competitions are also taking place in Asia, Europe, Australia, and India/Middle East to select ten finalists, who will each receive AU $50,000 ($47,000 USD) toward their next collection, as well as an invitation to the international final. (As you may recall, Joseph Altuzarra represented the USA last year.) The two overall winners will receive AU $100,000 ($94,000 USD) to go toward the fabric sourcing and marketing of their collections, and will also have the opportunity to sell their collection at Harvey Nichols, Colette, Saks Fifth Avenue, and other key retailers around the world.

Photo: Getty ImagesĀ 

Designer Diary: Joseph Altuzarra Takes Us Inside Milan’s International Woolmark Prize

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Last Friday, Joseph Altuzarra represented the good ol’ U.S.A. in the final round of the International Woolmark Prize. After winning the U.S. leg of the competition, the designer, who presented his Fall ’14 lineup just weeks ago, flew to Milan to present his standout collection of innovative, highly technical wool looks to an esteemed panel of judges. India’s Rahul Mishra ended up taking home the award, but Altuzarra, with his textural pastel knits and slick black tuxedo, proved a worthy opponent. Here, he shares a diary of his trip to Milan exclusively with Style.com.

Joseph Altuzarra intro

Last Wednesday, after wrapping up our Fall/Winter collection, my team and I arrived in Milan to prepare and show our International Woolmark capsule collection as the U.S. finalist of the 2013/14 finals. Here’s a diary of our trip in Milan!

Joseph Altuzarra

A quick pit stop at Museo del Novecento on our first day in Milan before we began preparations for the finals.

Joseph Altuzarra

The top floor of the museum had a neon installation by Lucio Fontana that was commissioned for the Triennale di Milano in 1951. It was the perfect piece to brighten up a rainy day in the city.

Joseph Altuzarra

Chatting about the IWP experience back at Woolmark HQ.

Joseph Altuzarra

At fittings for our six looks for the finals. Although it is not the same as the number of looks for our regular seasons, it was still an important and exciting process! Continue Reading “Designer Diary: Joseph Altuzarra Takes Us Inside Milan’s International Woolmark Prize” »