Thursday, July 23, 2015

International Woolmark Prize USA Award: Can Tanya Taylor and Siki Im Pull Out Another Win for the Americas on the World Stage?

Tanya Taylor and model (right) with Michelle A. Lee and Francisco Costa after the 2015 International Woolmark (IWP) Prize Regional USA womenswear winner is announced. Photos by Yours Truly.

SHE'S going to make it after all – both Tanya Taylor and the women wearing such a winning getup.

The Toronto-born, New York-based designer walked away Tuesday night with the 2015 International Woolmark (IWP) Prize Regional USA award for best womenswear, presented by one of the judges of the competition, Calvin Klein designer Francisco Costa. Ski Im took the IWP for best menswear during the ceremony at Milk Studios.

The 62-year-old award, refurbished in 2012, is given annually to the (creator[s] of the) best womenswear design and for the second time in its inception, best menswear design, of an outfit done exclusively in Australian merino wool.

Both designers move on to compete in the international finals and a chance to nab a repeat for the Americas. Also at stake is $100,000 Australian dollars, as well as possible placement in shops such as Saks,, Harvey Nichols, Isetan Mitsukoshi and David Jones.

TT's entry, which harkens to Mary Richards of The Mary Tyler Moore Show fame, is a ribbed two-toned, A-line turtleneck dress. The top portion is white; the skirt portion is a wide plaid of black, Kelly green and red. On the sleeves are stripes in red, Kelly green and olive green stripes on the sleeve. (See video above).

It is overlaid with a sleeveless, collared black maxi vest with pockets that have a ribbed olive green flap. It is accented with a red, white and Kelly green pin at the breast. For the head, a turban in a matching print.

The ensemble wouldn't be wasted during a Minnesota winter. And it fits the utterly feminine, but not necessarily flirty template for which the designer is becoming known since she struck out on her own in 2011.

TT earned a finance degree before she would continue her education at Parsons School of Design. She possesses the type of professional DNA of a designer/design team Australia-based The Woolmark Company would select to compete for its regional and international prize.

Regional winners in Asia, Australia, Europe, India/Middle East and the US receive the equivalent of $50,000 Australian dollars. Like a typical IWP nominee and winner, TT is emerging, though she is blazing trails in a very short period of time. Her line is sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Holt Renfrew and Nordstrom, for instance. She has also received good notices during New York Fashion Week.

Likewise has Siki Im. The designer also comported himself well at the inaugural New York Fashion Week: Men’s last week.

SI worked for Helmut Lang and former IWP winner Karl Lagerfeld before striking out on his own in 2009. He presents a subtly tailored matching jacket and slacks with v-neck sweater, shawl and cap (beret, perhaps) with a gangster lean.

A former architect and an Asian who grew up in Germany, SI has admitted to embracing dichotomy in his work. To that end, the effect of his ensemble is one of relaxed elegance and a little bit of the rebel.

The look that won Siki Im the 2015 International Woolmark (IWP) Prize Regional USA award for menswear.

International finals winners for menswear will be named in Florence in January 2016; for women, in New York in February 2016. Last year's USA regional womenswear victor Marica Patmos (M. Patmos) also took the international prize. (See video above;

Meanwhile, observing the scene on stage before the winners are announced is Maxwell Osborne, one half of both last year's USA regional menswear winner and the 2015 international menswear winner, Public School. (See video above). And what difference does a year make?

"I was nervous," returns the laconic MO.

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