On Tuesday night at New York's La Sirena Restaurant, Gabriela Hearst was selected as the USA regional winner of the International Woolmark Prize. Fighting off competition from a collection of finalists, including Monse, Nellie Partow and Sally LaPointe, the Uruguayan-born New York-based designer was declared the winner of the womenswear category by a panel of judges from across the industry, André Leon Talley and Glenda Bailey among them, and now has the opportunity to compete for the global award early next year.
The International Woolmark Prize invites new design talent to experiment with Australian merino wool. Semi-finalists in both menswear and womenswear are selected from six regional finals, and the ultimate winners (previous recipients have included Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent) are each awarded A$100,000 and see the capsule collections they created for the competition put into production and sold in a selection of the world’s top boutiques and department stores.
Commenting on her success, Gabriela revealed, "From a personal level, it means so much to me because I am a sixth-generation merino wool producer. My grandfather, father and mother and their children, we love wool so much and so it is like part of my being. Wool has been a part of my family for a long time and now with design, it is like two worlds wrapping together".
Gabriela’s winning design was made of a Cariaggi yarn of 14-micron ultrafine merino wool and featured a herringbone stitch on the sleeve. “I wanted to do ultralight luxury but really at a performance level,” she explained to Vogue.com.
“My look in the competition was very, very light because I wanted to show wool can be super thin and luxurious”.
To see Gabriela's Fall/Winter '16 collection, visit Moda Operandi here.