A Night Of Swiss Awards

The Stella Fashion Night in Zurich, Switzerland, saw the distribution of two huge fashion prizes. The prestigious Swiss Textiles Award went to the Mulleavy sisters of American label Rodarte, while Judith Klingenfeld won the Annabelle Award and will spend one year working with the Missoni team in North Italy.

Stella’s white and extremely skinny virtual figure took the gala’s guests on a fantastical journey through dreamy landscapes, never-ending forests and big cities, while introducing the nominated designers. Kate and Laura Mulleavy collected their €100,000 prize, which is intended to provide substantial support (press relations, show production or fabric purchases) for the pursuit of an international career. The self-taught design duo impressed the international jury with their flatteringly futuristic, yet playful and romantic gothic-chic creations.

The win was predictable, but well deserved—they have received numerous fashion awards and amazing support from top-notch fashion editors and upscale retail buyers, making it to New York Fashion Week within just three years of starting. Experimenting with materials, silhouettes and techniques, the sisters twisted, draped and stitched together soft and delicate fabrics with delicately torn knits and bits of shiny leather, sequin patches and chunky chains for a slightly Balmain-esque collection. They are the first American brand to ever win the Swiss Textiles Award. “We are so honored to be part of an international community. We’re just young and starting out,” they said in tears.

The five other finalists—Louise Goldin, Jean-Pierre Braganza, Toga, Cathy Pill and Richard Nicoll—each received a €4,000 voucher to purchase Swiss fabrics. After their presentations, Marios Schwab, last year’s Swiss Textiles Award winner, was invited to show how he had benefited from the prize. “I love this event. It is so new and inventive and getting better each year,” he said after showing his soft and shimmering summer collection on the catwalk. “This has been a fantastic year for me and my best season so far,” he continued. Previous winners also include Raf Simons, Bruno Pieters and Christian Wijnants.

Meanwhile, the Annabelle Award went to 25-year-old designer Judith Klingenfeld, who was selected from 30 applicants to win a one-year-internship with Italian cult label Missoni. Klingenfeld graduated from the Fashion Design Institute in Basel last spring and is currently gaining work experience with Henrik Vibskov in Copenhagen. The award was presented by Angela Missoni herself.

After the festivities, Ronald Weisbrod, the president of Swiss Textiles, told us he was very happy with the whole evening, albeit just a little disappointed the winner of the Annabelle award was German rather than Swiss. To round it all off, Albert Kriemler, designer of the Swiss label Akris, was there to congratulate the winners, while Sex and the City stylist Patricia Field presented her very own collection. Despite a rather lengthy sequence of catwalk shows and entertainment blocks, the evening stunningly confirmed Switzerland’s influential position in the international fashion world.

—Nora Baldenweg

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