Fashion film: Behind the Prize

International Woolmark Prize documentary ushers in new guard

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The screening of another nail-biting documentary presented by The Woolmark Company welcomes a new class of prize nominees to the fold.  


There was cause to break out the popcorn last night as a select group of media and friends gathered at Sydney’s historical Golden Age Cinema and Bar for the premiere screening of Behind The Prize, the Anthony-Lau directed documentary tracing the 2014/15 International Woolmark Prize.

Award finalists Peter Strateas and Mario-Luca Carlucci of Strateas.Carlucci sat front row to relive the journey that began when they won both the womenswear and menswear regional prizes in Australia last July. The film travels to Berlin, New York, London, Shanghai and Strateas.Carlucci's hometown of Melbourne before arriving in Beijing where the designers stepped onto the world stage as one of five unique labels realising their creative visions using Merino wool. 

Strateas.Carlucci Woolmark Prize

International Woolmark Prize finalists Peter Strateas and Mario-Luca Carlucci of Strateas.Carlucci

Watching on in a mix of nerves and excitement were the nine nominees about to embark on the adventure for 2015/16. Announced by Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief Kellie Hush on behalf of The Woolmark Company and nominating bodies IMG and Australian Fashion Chamber, this year’s womenswear category includes Bianca Spender, Elissa McGowan, Ashkar Line, Celeste Tesoriero, Haryono Setiadi and Rebecca Vallance, while From Britten P/L, Han and P.Johnson represent menswear. 

“It was surreal when I got the phone call,” said Tesoriero, who received the call while on a six-week sabbatical. “After watching the film it makes it really real.” One half of P.Johnson, Patrick Johnson admitted he and partner Tom Riley were “pretty damn excited” about having an opportunity to share “the way we feel about tailoring, sartorial wear and our nearly singular devotion to wool.” Although Spender admitted to being a “super non-competitive person,” the chance to work on a “let’s-see-how-far-you-can-push-it-project” is a thrilling prospect. And Han is already thinking globally: “It puts us on a worldwide platform.”

Since 1953, the International Woolmark Prize has helped discover some of the biggest fashion designers in history, and the next generation was hanging on Strateas and Carlucci’s every word as the duo imparted their hard-won experience to the group. “It’s about the opportunity…meeting the buyers, meeting some of the most globally influential fashion industry leaders, taking their advice and their support, and making the most of that network,” said Carlucci. His advice to the new round of nominees: “Just be prepared to work really hard.”

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