Almost a year after the nominees were named, it all comes down to this: five designers with six looks each, showcased in front of the world’s fashion industry at London Fashion Week.
Looking on front row is the crème de la crème of the style set, the judges who will ultimately decide the fate of the emerging talents and crown one of them the victor, the winner of the IWP. Sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, designers Diane von Furstenburg, Victoria Beckham, Donatella Versace, Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani, fashion commentator Tim Blanks plus retail gurus Andrew Keith (Joyce, Lane Crawford), Paula Reed (Harvey Nichols) and Carla Sozzani (10 Corso Como) make their final assessment of the finalists.
Whittled down from 38 aspiring talents from around the world to just five, Dion Lee, representing the Australia region, opens the show with his signature architectural aesthetic. Fabric innovation was key to Lee’s position in the final, the judges appreciating his experimental bonding techniques and textile construction.
China region finalist Ban Xiao Xue draws on nature for design inspiration, following Lee with a collection that explores the potential of the textile. Starting with a whole piece of specially produced fabric, he sought to drape it across the body with limited cutting.
Next, Antwerp-based designer Christian Wijnants, the Europe region finalist, wowed with creations constructed from a single yarn of Merino wool crafted into structured, three-dimensional pieces coloured using traditional Shibori-dyeing techniques from Japan.
“It was a long process, you never really know where you’re going to end up, but I was really happy with the end result.” Christian Wijnants
Representing the India region, design couple Pankaj & Nidhi, turned to traditional craftsmanship and bold colour for their IWP collection. Cultural symbols are given a contemporary twist, a modernity designed to give global appeal.
Taking to the runway for the Japan region, DRESSEDUNDRESSED’s androgynous collection is an art/fashion fusion drawing inspiration from Japanese architecture and street style. Designed by Takeshi Kitazawa and Emiko Sato, the DRESSEDUNDRESSED presentation maintained the brand’s signature shade of black, with highlights of white, in a collection of sharp, unisex looks.
The final contender for the 2012/13 IWP, Sophie Theallet, a French-born designer representing the USA, closes out the collection. Carefully evolving each collection from the last, Theallet’s skill and craftsmanship secured her a place in the international final with her feminine and free spirited aesthetic.
After 23 minutes of taking in the best emerging fashion designers in the world, the judging panel convenes for one last time before presenting the winner of the IWP to the industry—Christian Wijants is victorious and is set to have his collection grace the shelves of the world’s most prestigious fashion retailers.
“It was a long process, you never really know where you’re going to end up, but I was really happy with the end result.”
At Tokyo Fashion Week, a casual approach to traditional clothing was on show for spring 2017