The International Woolmark Prize is one of the most coveted awards in the fashion industry. Its alumni includes everyone from Yves Saint Laurent to Karl Lagerfeld and Rosetta Getty. Merely placing in the final event can make a designer’s career, as the prize aims to give emerging designers the financial backing and mainstream media attention necessary to launch a global brand. The final event for the seventh edition of the International Woolmark Prize took place Saturday the 16th of February in London, and on its prestigious judging panel sat our very own Eva Galambos alongside an esteemed panel including designer Alber Elbaz, Business of Fashion editor-at-large Tim Blanks, Vogue Italia's Sara Sozzani Maino, British Vogue's Sinead Burke, Highsnobiety's David Fischer, Fantastic Man founder Gert Jonkers alongside prestigious retailers of the world. In 2001, Eva opened Parlour X, the internationally renowned luxury boutique, home to the world’s most coveted and influential designer collections from Celine, Chloe, Balenciaga, and Saint Laurent to name a handful. In the 18 years since, Eva has earnt a reputation as Australia’s most prominent buyer and one of the most influential Australian fashion ambassadors abroad. Of the twelve talented designers presenting their wool collections in London, British designer Edward Crutchley and the American duo Colovos took home the International Woolmark Prize for 2019. Edward Crutchley was concurrently awarded the menswear prize and Innovation prize by actor Colin Firth; who gave a characteristically charming speech about his own relationship with fashion ahead of the award. Michael and Nicole Colovos, were awarded the womenswear award by actress and model Gwendoline Christie. Following the amazing experience, we spoke with Parlour X director and buyer Eva Galambos about her involvement this year.
Q: What does the Woolmark prize mean for Australians?Eva: Firstly, it’s an Australian prize and a great endorsement for our own industry. It's an industry that is flourishing, and that's something we can all be really proud of. At the end of the day, everybody associates luxury fashion with Europe and thinks of the French and Italian houses, so I think it’s a really nice way to put Australia on the map by having such an important prize ceremony. There are only two in the industry, the LVMH prize and the Woolmark prize, and it’s an Australian prize.
Q: What can it do for a brand or a designer?Eva: It’s absolutely the launchpad for any designer to being recognised globally. If you look at Bodice who won [the prize] last year, it enabled her to be stocked in many new locations - including right here at Parlour X! - that probably would never would have considered her otherwise. I've learnt so much from her, she’s such an inspiring designer, and it really made me appreciate the value system and ecosystem of sustainable fashion. In particular, the eco-system within India and the fact that every single component of production is traceable, from dye-lots right through to threading.
Q: How much of an honour is it to be asked to be a judge?Eva: It’s huge, I feel really proud. Firstly, as an Australian for an Australian prize it’s a massive honour because there are only two of these major prizes in the world. To be representing Parlour X and representing Australia, I feel incredibly proud. I’ve always loved offered mentorship and advice to up-and-coming designers and established designers in the past, in terms of understanding the process behind buying and brand appeal. It's my way of giving back to the community I love.
We congratulate all participating designers of the International Woolmark Prize and look forward to seeing the real impact the prize will have on the winning designers. Stay tuned for more updates on the #WoolmarkPrize from Parlour X.