A fairytale unfolded at the International Woolmark Prize final this year, as the underdog came up trumps and took away the grand prize, surprising both the audience and the jury.
From the five regions of the world, came a diverse showcase of how Merino wool could be used, treated and crafted.
The rambunctious trio behind Sibling, representing Europe, looked at how the digital world was encroaching on yesteryear and you couldn't help but be charmed by the pixelated Lucian Freud portraits, crochet meets machine-knit meets make-do-and-mend and Scottish Fair Isle.
Representing Australia was rising star Christopher Esber, who happed upon a puff print relief effect, over which he placed wool crepe to create trompe l'oeil drapes.
From Asia, are duo ffiXXed, designed by Kain Picken and Fiona Lau, who looked to the domestic comfort of lounging around on rugs to create a collection of glitch pattern knits with witty touches like cushion clutches.
Undoubtedly the most well-known of the finalists was Joseph Altuzarra, representing the USA, who impressed with his finessed needle punched tactile textures and Hitchcock heroine-inspired silhouettes. It's fair to say that many in the industry had Altuzarra pegged for the prize.
Then Rahul Mishra, representing India and the Middle East, walked in with his line-up of beautifully embroidered dresses, telling a tale of nature connecting with modern day life. Cityscapes met lotus flowers in the most intricate of fine wool ombre embroidery. It was wool but not as you know it, and the jury, made up of Angelica Cheung, Frida Giannini, Tim Blanks, Franca and Carla Sozzani and Sarah Andelman were all bowled over. Mishra's belief in fashion giving back through his three E's - environment, employment and empowerment - also impressed a jury at a time, when the industry needs to monitor the repercussions of its mode of production.
When Blanks asked Mishra what it would mean for him to win this prize, Mishra fought back the tears to say emphatically, "It would mean everything". The moving story behind Mishra wasn't the deal-clincher though. It was down to the clothes and the way they have been crafted. Mishra's collection will be stocked at stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, 10 Corso Como, Harvey Nichols and colette come August this year. The final judge of Mishra's work will be the customer, who no doubt will feel the love and labour put into this very special collection.
2013/14 International Woolmark Prize: All the designers, all their collections, all Merino wool