As soon as I saw his pieces I didnt care about anyone else, I knew he was the winner for me, says Paula Reed, fashion director of Harvey Nichols, of this years International Woolmark Prize winner, Christian Wijnants. Reed was on the judging panel that also included Victoria Beckham, Donatella Versace and Diane von Furstenberg, charged with choosing a worthy recipient of the $105,000 fund. The Belgian designer was an easy pick.
Today the capsule collection that bagged Wijnants the honour lands in a pop-up store on the fourth floor of Harvey Nichols. There are six pieces, sculptural cocoon dresses and coats painstakingly dyed using a Japanese technique called shibori. Each piece took around a fortnight to dye. This is not fast fashion, but its worth it. Everyone I speak to, whether its taxi drivers or buyers in Japan, has heard of Woolmark so from a branding and exposure point of view its been incredible, says Winjant of the prize.
The Belgian designer is in London for just a few hours he has to return to his Antwerp studio to put the finishing touches to his s/s 2014 collection, due to be unveiled at Paris Fashion Wek in a few short weeks. Its all coming together. All the samples are coming into the studio and its a strange moment because they never look quite how you imagined them. I always hate everything to begin with so theres a lot of editing and changing. But its fun. Although my whole team hates me right now for leaving!