The 2019 International Woolmark Prize wasn’t your typical fashion show. First off, there was the fact that not one, but 12 designers were showing on the runway, as each of the 12 finalists for this year’s prize showed three looks from their collections highlighting wool as a fabric. There was a front row, yes, but rather than It-Girls and famous offspring, it was made up of a judging panel that consisted of everyone from Game of Thrones’s Gwendoline Christie, designer Alber Elbaz, and actor Joel Edgerton, among others. And instead of a traditional finale walk, there was an acapella performance of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” followed by a rainstorm of glitter.
And then there’s also the fact that at the end of the show, there was a winner—two to be precise: Colovos for womenswear, and English menswear designer Edward Crutchley who won both the men’s and the Innovation award. With their wins, both Crutchley and Colovos will each receive AU$200,000 to help support the development of their business. In addition, Crutchley will receive a further AU$100,000 for his Innovation Award win.
Crutchley won both awards concurrently, accepting the menswear award just seconds after the Innovation announcement from presenter Colin Firth, who gave a characteristically charming speech about his own relationship with fashion ahead of the award. “i spent most of my life fashion-blind, so this has been a steep learning curve,” Firth said. “I had pretty much no engagement with fashion before, until I met Tom Ford, and that was an interesting tailoring—not really because of anything he said, but because being in the presence of Tom Ford requires you to scrub up a bit.”
Christie presented the final award of the night, for womenswear, to Michael and Nicole Colovos, making joke of her statuesque nature and new penchant for the modeling world upon taking the mic. Like Crutchley, the duo were at a loss for word over their win for their collection based on contemporary workwear. “The intention is clothing that feels really modern,” Nicole told W earlier this month. “It’s clothing you can add into your wardrobe and cross over a lot of boundaries.”