The International Woolmark Prize is the competition that launched the careers of Saint Laurent and Lagerfeld, Yves pipping Karl to the top spot in 1954, as decreed by Hubert de Givenchy and Pierre Balmain.
Tonight sees the finale of the 2013 prize, in the revived Merino-promoting competition, which crosses borders and cultures to hunt out talent from around the world, judged by Diane von Furstenburg, Donatella Versace, Franca Sozzani, Victoria Beckham, Carla Sozzani and Tim Blanks.
What better chance to catch up with fashion’s most eloquent, discussing both the prize, the ins and outs of showgoing and off-catwalk life.
Dazed Digital: What does the Woolmark Prize mean to you?
Tim Blanks: Recognition of a new wave of fashion talent.
DD: How has the judging process been? Has there been tea and garibaldis with Donatella? And what are you looking for in the winner?
Tim Blanks: So far, I’ve sat in on the judging for the European candidate. The global judging happens before the award. That’s when the cookies come out for DV. I’m looking for the same things I always look for in a collection, technique and native talent, for sure, but also the ability to ensnare me with a story.
DD: Show season is upon us and you’re a veteran of the marathon. What are your tips for getting through fashion month?
Tim Blanks: Berocca… and oysters.
DD: Have you ever seen a collection or show and been lost for words? In a good or bad way…
Tim Blanks: Yes, I’ve been moved, but never to the point where I can’t verbalise why.
DD: Ever fantasised about doing a collection? What would it be like?
Tim Blanks: No, that’s not one of my fantasies. But I wouldn’t mind the whole Helmut Lang package.
DD: You’re known for elevating the concept of a runway review. Is there a word you love so much you have to reign yourself in from using it all the time?
Tim Blanks: Transmogrify or Mitteleuropa.
DD: You’ve two Jack Russells, Annie and Stella. Why do you think dogs are so popular with people working in the industry?
Tim Blanks: I never thought about that. Why would fashion people be any more subject to the call of the canine? Besides, Jack Russells are impossible to resist, whatever your vocation.
DD: You came to fashion through music. What records are you enjoying at the moment?
Tim Blanks: First, David Bowie releases his birthday surprise, then My Bloody Valentine drops MBV out of the blue. I’m gripped! I also love Andy Stott’s record.