Teatum Jones was announced as the winner of the womenswear final of the 2015-2016 International Woolmark Prize, presented at a special event as part of New York Fashion Week last week, the Woolmark Company said in a press release.
“I loved the original concept, the articulation of the concept and the romanticism of the clothes,” said André Leon Talley, one of the judges who is also a fashion author, editor and consultant, former Editor-at-Large, American Vogue. “They did their research in terms of sourcing and I believe some customers will really respond to the narrative. It was wonderful.”
Thakoon Panichgul, Chief Creative Officer, Thakoon explained: “The winner took to the task of using wool in innovative ways. They showed artisanal qualities through wool lace, colour blocking and double-faced wool creating a three-dimensional quality.”
Inspired by a Wool Utopia conceived by English nun Agnes Morrogh-Bernard in 1892, whereby she founded the Foxford Woollen Mills to weave luxurious woollen blankets and restore hope to an impoverished town, Teatum Jones travelled to the mill to create exclusive blankets and modernised them with geometric foil prints and hand embroideries on skirts and jackets.
Using a mix of 17.5 micron and 19.5 micron Australian Merino wool for the clothes, and 23 micron wool for the accessories, the UK design duo partnered with a specialist guipure lace mill in France, convincing them to use wool for the first time, to create innovative, vibrant geometric Merino laces – inspired by the geometric borders of the blankets. Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones then flew to Italy where they developed a stretch wool that feels similar to a scuba suit, upon which they bonded the Merino lace, creating a luxurious lace fabric that performed as a structured tailoring cloth.
“For our regional entry we really pushed the innovation in our textile development and the use of Merino wool. We had developed many techniques and new ways of using Merino, which impressed the judges. For the final capsule collection, we decided to take the strongest of these techniques and concentrate on developing them, refining them and maximising the beauty in their potential.”
Stuart McCullough, CEO Australian Wool Innovation, who was also a jury member, said: “Teatum Jones has showcased wool in a unique but very commercial way. We are excited about their take on Australian Merino wool and it feels like something very new.”
Teatum Jones added: “This is amazing, we are honoured and excited and it’s just the beginning; we have only scratched the surface. This award lets us ignite the magic of wool, so the customer sees the romance in wool. This competition is the opportunity to be physically present at store launches and being able to pass on that experience to the customer is magical.”