A pair of Indian designers wooed by Wellington's world-class costume extravaganza have taken the top award at the Montana World of WearableArt.
First-time entrants Yogesh Chaudhary and Manas Barve won the Montana Supreme Award, the American Express Open Section and $30,000 worth of prizes at last night's awards ceremony for their innovative garment Loops.
Made entirely of merino wool felt, Loops was created with laser-cutting and seamless knitting – no thread or glue was used in its construction. Its interlaced panels cover the model's whole body.
Chaudhary said he and Barve both valued sustainability. "Loops is a garment which demonstrates an organic sense of wholeness."
Their work was one of a record 23 entries from India this year. Renowned designer Vivan Sundaram and his partner Pratima Pandey entered seven pieces – the highest number of garments from a single entrant in the show's history.
Founder Suzie Moncrieff and her sister, competition director Heather Palmer, have gone to India three times to spread the WOW word. On their last trip, they ran a stall at India's equivalent of Fashion Week, where they displayed previous entries and screened a DVD about the show. Ms Moncrieff said Loops was "unlike anything we'd ever seen before".
This is the second consecutive year an international designer has won the top prize, after David Walker became the first foreign Supreme Award winner with Lady of the Wood. His latest entry, Wood, Wire and Fire, was commended in the Gen-I section.
International designers won 13 of the 35 prizes, but Ms Moncrieff said Kiwi entrants still had the competitive edge. "They know WOW."
Next year's show will be held in August, because of the Rugby World Cup.
The Dominion Post