Wang sweeps the board at the Swiss Textiles Awards

13 November 2009

alexander wang

We were flying the flag for British design and rooting for London-based talent Erdem and Peter Pilotto to win but New York designer Alexander Wang swooped in and scored a hat trick last night in Zurich, Switzerland, with his American sportswear-themed collection winning this year’s prestigious Swiss Textiles Award at the Stella Fashion Night.

The designer has also recently been named the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers in America) Womenswear Newcomer and he won the Vogue CFDA Fund prize last year. We’ve coo-ed over his studded bags, ahh-ed at his chunky brothel creepers and coveted his accessibly priced designs for some time now, all worn by the likes of Rihanna, Nicole Richie and Gwyneth Paltrow. We’ll be watching the Alexander Wang name go stratospheric now.

Visibly shaking and beaming from ear-to-ear, the San Francisco-born designer is a bit of a sweetheart and modest to boot. After pointing out it’s his entire team that’s responsible for the win (including his brother-in-law and sister), he told Grazia Daily backstage that, 'There’s always more to do! I can do so much more with my business now – I’m very lucky.'

alexander wang

He fought off tough competition from New York labels Thakoon and Ohne Title, Parisian designer Alexis Mabille and Londoners Erdem and Peter Pilotto. In fact, it was design duo Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos’ whimsical yet edgy creations that raised the most applause in the audience, inspired by the reflections of fireworks on the canals of Venice (we want, want, want one of their Perspex and gold moulded belts. Please).

'Everyone deserves to win. I’m just happy to be included with such a talented group of designers,' Erdem told us before the event. Currently planning his next collection in February (yes, fashion really does move that fast), and fresh from dressing Michelle Obama, Sarah Brown and creating a stationery collection for Smythson, could he give us a teeny tiny hint about what to expect? 'There’s something darker on the horizons,' he said, with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, explaining that his favourite piece in the bright and flowery spring/summer 2010 collections was actually a little black dress – the first he’s every created.

And what about last year’s winner, Rodarte? We grabbed a quick coffee with one of the Rodarte sisters, Kate Mulleavy (her sister, Laura, was unfortunately ill). 'We were so shocked and surprised that we’d won – it took us quite some time to get over that! We put the award money into various parts of the business, but we’re taking it slowly, step-by-step. We don’t want to grow too fast and loose sight of who we are. With every collection, I learn more about who we are as designers and what we want to create.'

There might also be a darker touch to Rodarte’s next collection. Kate told us she’s been Christmas gift shopping for puppets from cult LA shop and show venue Bob Baker’s Marionettes after seeing one of the puppeteer’s eerie Halloween shows.

With former Swiss Textiles Award winners also including the likes of Marios Schwab (recently signed on at Halston), Raf Simons (currently heading up Jil Sander), Bruno Pieters (now creating the Hugo line for Hugo Boss) and Haider Ackermann, the whopping €100,000 prize is highly coveted and offers young designers a breakthrough and much-needed support at an important time in their career.


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