ON Wednesday evening, at a glittering event during the Pitti Uomo — the world’s foremost menswear trade fair held in Italy’s Florence — Delhi-based designer Suket Dhir walked away with the International Woolmark Prize (IWP) 2015/2016 trophy in the menswear category. His six-ensemble collection in hues of indigo, green, beige and earthy tones, spoke of an ease of execution and tailoring technique that won an esteemed panel of judges over.
The jury, comprising designer Haider Ackermann, Vogue international editor Suzy Menkes, Imran Amed of Business of Fashion, Nick Sullivan, fashion director, Esquire; Masafumi Suzuki, editor-in-chief, GQ Japan; Linda Loppa, director of strategy and vision, Polimoda; Raffaello Napoleone, chief executive, Pitti Immagine and Stuart McCullough, managing director of The Woolmark Company, adjudged Dhir the winner from among finalists representing Asia, Australia, the British Isles, Europe, India, Pakistan and the Middle East, and the US.
Dhir’s collection sought to explore “trans-seasonal aspects of wool and the alchemic transformation of fibrous wool into smooth silk-like yarn”. He got ikat weavers from Telangana to work with Merino wool, creating ombre patterns, used age-old Dharwad kasuti embroidery in geometric forms, an update on the classic quilting stitch, and the oversized proportions of the garments were inspired by his own grandfather’s clothes.
“In fashion, I’m always looking for emotion, for the heartbeat, for the feeling that something excites me,” said Menkes of the collection. “I think I’m ready for the world, and I also think the world is ready for me and this kind of aesthetic. The look is easy and happy, and the world needs that right now,” said Dhir on the IWP website, post the win. As the overall IWP menswear award winner, Dhir receives $74,210 and the opportunity to stock his capsule collection with international retailers such as Harvey Nichols in London, 10 Corso Como in Milan, Beijing and Shanghai, Joyce Boutique in China, Saks Fifth Avenue in the US and David Jones in Australia, among others.