Woolmark Prize announces winners Gabriela Hearst and Cottweiler
Designer Gabriela Hearst, Uruguay-born but now based in America, and English duo Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty from sportswear label Cottweiler, are the respective winners of the International Woolmark Prize 2016-17 for women's and menswear, as revealed at a ceremony on Monday in Paris.
Born in Uruguay, the 40-year-old Gabriela Perezutti was exposed to wool from birth. "Our family has produced wool for six generations in the Paysandu region in Uruguay. We had ranch here, which I took care of after the death of my father in 2011," explained Perezutti, who has taken the named of her husband, Austin Hearst, a scion of press magnate William Randolph Hearst.
Sent to an English school in Montevideo, Perezutti finished her studies in Australia, before travelling to her from Paris to New York. In 2000, she set up shop in the Big Apple and began working for a small women's ready-to-wear brand, before going solo. She founded Candela in 2004, a line of bohemian-styled luxury inspired by her native Pampa.
Faced with tough competition, the designer embarked on a new project in February 2015 with her namesake ready-to-wear line, Gabriela Hearst, which now boasts 50 multibrand clients across the globe. The label will also show for the first time in New York next February.
"What I like to create is beauty. I make timeless pieces, that are hardly boring for modern women with values of the past," summarises the creator, who lives between Uruguay, where her ranch gives her the raw materials for her collections, and New York, where she lives and has established her studio.
As for the Woolmark men's prize, Cottweiler, which has been showing in London since last year, is also known in the depths of the fashion. Pronouncing a futuristic, high-end sportswear aesthetic, the brand was founded by young designers Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty.
A finalist of the LVMH prize last year, the duo were invited in January to present a special project with Reebok.
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