Veniceâs colourful buildings and their reflections on the canals inspired the winning designer collection at this yearâs iD Dunedin International Emerging Designer Awards.
Mahshid Mahdian of Brera Academy, Italy took away $10,000 in prize money for her collection âShadowâ which played on a theme of layers.
Mahdian, who travelled from Italy for the awards, doesnât speak English but had her concepts for her designs translated into English, which she read off a piece of paper when she presented her collection to the judges.
The language barrier, however, was not an issue said Paris-based Australian designer Martin Grant, one of the judges of the event.
âItâs not so much about what they say, itâs about the work and the work speaks for itself,â Grant said. âIt was just a perfect rounded piece of work. Her finishing and everything was extraordinary. Personally as soon as I saw it I thought âthatâs itâ and afterwards when [the judges] deliberated it was the same for everyone else.â
Another designer to catch Grantâs special interest was Vaibhav Singh a graduate of the National Institute of Fashion Technology, India for whom a Special Recognition Award was especially created, instigated by Grant. Singhâs âOrnaments of a Warriorâ collection drew inspiration from warrior weapons from different eras. Grant was so moved by the quality of the work that he offered up the prize of a paid internship with him in Paris.
Second place, with a cash prize of $4000, went to Australian designer Alanna Barca, graduate of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). Each garment of her âOrnamental Formsâ collection was highly detailed as well as aesthetically beautiful. A passionate illustrator, Barca screen-printed her hand drawings onto the fabric which she then had embroidered by artisans in Pakistan.
âItâs about justifying the importance of ornament and using decoration to enhance design, not plonking it on, but trying to make the design as opposed to putting it on as an after thought,â Barca said. âItâs about having the ornament as creating the actual shape and silhouette.â
Australian designers took out four of the seven awards at this yearâs event.
Chin Hau Tay of the RMIT, the crowd favourite, brought humour as well as innovation to the stage with his fun and playful âBeawear Bearâ collection that saw the male models swathed in giant-sized bright red faux furs and checked coats which he modelled on the teddy bear shape using classical tailoring techniques. Hau Tay said one of the aims of his teddy bear tailored collection was to encourage men not to take themselves too seriously. âA tailored jacket need not only be about fit and tradition, it can put a big smile on your face,â he said.
Mook Attakanwong of the University of Sydney juxtaposed colourful jewel tones and shiny fabrics in a way that was interesting but also wearable. Her collection âLibertineâ was inspired by the Byzantine period and combined casual, sportswear elements with luxury in a liberated fashion, winning her the award for the Most Commercial collection.
The Fabric Store Award for Excellence in Design was awarded to Anna-Marie Gruber of the University of Technology Sydney for her film noir knit collection âDisconnectâ featuring abstract shapes and obscure silhouettes that âexpressed the inner madness explored in Alfred Hitchcockâs charactersâ.
The New Zealand Light Leathers Prize was presented to Lucilla Gray of Massey University, New Zealand whose sculptural and bright blue collection âHyper-Floralsâ was described by Francis Hooper of fashion label WORLD, also one of the judges, as âbeautiful and so detailed âŠ and capturing attention in a heart beatâ. Hooper was referring to Grayâs technique of hand printing and then hand embossing the fabric to give it added texture and relief.
WORLD was also a guest designer, along with Paris-based Australian designer Martin Grant, for the iD Fashion Show which was held over two nights on the platform of Dunedinâs historic railway station.
WORLDâs collection livened the audience with itâs tongue and cheek collection âPenny Wise Pound Foolishâ which embraced the frivolity of fashion along with the seriousness with which WORLD approaches its experimentation of design. The opening garment comprised of bright orange trousers with a swirling matching headpiece paired with a floor length cape and polo neck sweater in neon lime.
In contrast Martin Grantâs elegant Spring/Summer 14 collection was all black and white balanced by Christian Louboutin high heels.
Tamsin Cooper, best known for her colourful embroidered bags, launched her debut menâs range of jackets with the help of Royal New Zealand Ballet dancers Loughlan Prior, Maclean Hopper and William Fitzgerald who twirled, leapt and danced their way along the runway. Later Cooper performed a balancing act of her own standing in high heels on a clothing rack which the dancers wheeled at speed along the length of the catwalk for the show finale. All in the name of fashion, of course.
Take a look at some of the highlights from iD Fashion week: