To present the finalists' work for the prestigious International Woolmark Prize 2021, Solange Knowles has created the ultimate showcase in the form of a fashion film. Working with her creative studio Saint Heron and the filmmaker Wu Tsang, the collaborative endeavour features the work of the six finalists; Bethany Williams, Casablanca, Kenneth Ize, Lecavalier, Matty Bovan and Thebe Magugu.
Since its inception in 1936 to promote the versatility of wool, the annual prize celebrates inspiring new talent and craftsmanship, with previous winners ranging from Yves Saint Laurent to Richard Malone. The theme of this year's prize is 'Less is More', and the theme of transparency and sustainability runs throughout all of the designers' work.
'Now more so than ever, in these incredibly challenging times for our industry, we must continue to support and nurture the emerging voices in fashion design,' said Naomi Campbell. 'They are the future, and I look forward to seeing what creative and innovative work comes out of this year’s entries to push our industry's ongoing mission in diversity and sustainability.' Other industry figureheads involved in the prize include Edward Enninful, Donatella Versace and Kim Jones.
The six finalists will receive AU$60,000 investment in a Merino collection, alongside mentoring, access to a global wool supply chain, commercial opportunities and more. The winner will receive a whopping AU$300,000.
Solange's 5-minute film, entitled Passage, features whimsical styling from Ib Kamara, who was recently appointed editor-in-chief of Dazed magazine (see Kamara's brilliant series of covers for his first issue as editor here). Dominique Jackson, who dazzled as ballroom house mother Elektra Abundance in Ryan Murphy's Pose, appears in the film wearing a dress by Nigerian designer Kenneth Ize. American pop singer Dionne Warwick also makes a cameo wearing a look by Thebe Magugu, a South African designer who won the LVMH Prize in 2019, and was recently announced as the guest designer for the next edition of Pitti Uomo.
To mark the release of her fourth studio album When I Get Home (2019), Solange returned to her hometown of Houston, Texas and directed a lengthy film to accompany all 17 tracks - think of it as a woozy, feature-length music video, if you will, or a visual album. The film payed homage to Black cowboys and Houston's chopped and screwed remixing technique, developed in the hip hop scene of the early 1990s by DJ Screw. Styled by Kyle Luu, Solange wore an array of minimalist looks by Telfar, Tom Ford-era Gucci, Craig Green and archive Helmut Lang in the film.