Belgium designer Bruno Pieters (pictured above) won the Swiss Textiles Award – worth 100,000 euro – here last week. The Swiss Textile Federation ( organized for the seventh time this international award for fashion design and presented it at a glamorous event. The prize was awarded during the Stella Contemporary Fashion Awards event on November 17 in the Maag Music & Event Hall.

This year, six promising young designers - Anne-Valérie Hash (France), Doo Ri Chung (USA/Korea), Jonathan Saunders (Great Britain), Kaviar Gauche (Germany), Bruno Pieters (Belgium) and Kim Jones (Great Britain) - made it to the final round. As part of the event, they presented their summer 2007 collections on the catwalk. Pieters, 28, convinced the audience and the international panel of judges with his collection that is inspired by the French artist Yves Klein, who is known for his intense, monochrome pictures. He combined tailored slim-line silhouettes with a high waist with corset belts, which gave the skirts and dresses a slightly cylindrical shape. Pieters is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Antwerp and has worked for Martin Margiela and Christian Lacroix Haute Couture.

The 100,000-euro prize represents substantial support in the drive to expand the winner’s international career and will not be paid in the form of cash. Pieters will determine how the sum can be invested most appropriately, i.e. for press activities, show productions or the search for suitable marketing partners. He will also receive a voucher worth 10,000 euro to purchase materials from Swiss manufacturers. The five other finalists will also receive a voucher worth 2,000 euro to purchase Swiss textiles.

National and international fashion professionals nominated the six in advance. To be selected, a designer must already have presented a minimum of four collections at a high-profile fashion event such as the Prêt-à-Porter week in Paris or the London Fashion Week. In addition, he or she must already have access to significant international sales channels and have been covered in the specialist press.

This year’s 12-member jury included Susanne Tide-Frater (Consultant, London), Maria Luisa Poumaillou (Maria Luisa boutiques, Paris), Dr. Alfons Kaiser (FAZ, Germany) and Leeyong Soo (Vogue Nippon, Tokyo).

During the event the Swiss women’s magazine Annabelle also presented young Swiss fashion design-graduate Sabine Heinold with its award, which consists of a one-year stint at Italian fashion house Pucci under current designer Matthew Williamson.

— Michaela Schmidinger, Fashion Features Editor

Photo: Graziano Ferrari