The Woolmark company couldn’t have picked a better day to hold its womenswear runway show and prize ceremony in New York if they tried. Outside, blustery temperatures in the teens and 20s had turned guests blue, filling the seats in Chelsea’s Cedar Lake venue with an ideal audience for lush, cozy, and warm wool designs. This year’s competing brands were J Koo from South Korea, Bianca Spender from Australia, Teatum Jones from the United Kingdom, Nanna van Blaaderen from the Netherlands, Taller Marmo from the United Arab Emirates, and Tanya Taylor from the United States. As one of those blue people shivering under an acrylic scarf, this writer found lots to love in the runway presentation, including J Koo’s trompe l’oeil pieces made to look like denim and Nanna van Blaaderen’s ivory shag sweater that exhibited a perky bounce as the model teetered by in platform sandals.
But it was the British duo behind Teatum Jones that emerged victorious, chosen by a panel of judges including W’s Stefano Tonchi, André Leon Talley, Thakoon Panichgul, and The Business of Fashion’s Tim Blanks. And it’s safe to say several audience members called it before the prize was announced. Designed by Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones, the collection was the most varied one on the catwalk, offering up thin ribbed knits, folk-patterned maxi dresses, and a blanket cape of many colors that I seriously considered trying to swipe off the model to face the cold outside. The pair found inspiration in the handiwork of the Foxford Woolen Mills in Ireland, founded in 1892 by a nun. Since then the mills have been considerably updated—for Teatum Jones’s collection it produced its first-ever wool guipure lace.
“We really wanted it to be a highly shoppable wardrobe,” said Teatum of the collection after their win. “Every single piece in there came from discussions that we have with retailers, getting that feedback of what women were buying into and also from my opinion, as a woman, and what I wanted when I sat down and looked through our archives.” Good news for shoppers too, since part of the duo’s prize—in addition to $70,848—is having their collection stocked in retailers around the world like Milan’s 10 Corso Como and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Teatum Jones follows M.Patmos as the womenswear prize winner, and joins the ranks of Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent as recipients of the award. Said Teatum, “It’s a huge, huge honor. The company, the fiber, it’s got such rich history and for us to contribute to that legacy is just a privilege.”
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