An award winning international designer set the catwalk abuzz and took the Henty Natural Fibre Fashion Awards onto the world stage with her winter-inspired supreme garment.
It was the second attempt at winning the award for New Zealand designer Laurel Judd, with judges David Tester and Colleen Smith unanimous in their decision.
The supreme garment was a fitted and backless machine knitted in fine Merino yarn with silver lurex highlights.
The bodice was encrusted with beading and embroidery, with a fringed hem as a stand out feature.
It was inspired by icy frost and snow crystals, and the sophisticated elegance of the art deco style.
Mr Tester, of Albury, said the judge’s decision was a difficult one with five quality finalists.
He said the gown, which featured a fringed skirt and wrap, epitomised “sophisticated elegance’’.
The outfit was capably modelled by Billabong High School Year 10 student Nessa Liston, Henty.
Open to amateurs and professionals, the awards recognise the innovative use of natural fibres – from paddock to catwalk – in creative but wearable clothing.
The judging emphasis was on visual appeal, creative and innovative use of natural fibres.
The 13th Henty Natural Fibre Fashion Awards were a highlight of the Country Lifestyle program at the Henty Machinery Field Days on September 20-22.
Awards organiser Lyn Jacobsen said the natural fibres could include wool, alpaca, angora, mohair, cashmere, cotton, silk and linen.
Mrs Jacobsen said the awards had attracted almost 90 entries from around the nation, as well as New Zealand and India.
She said Laurel Judd’s win in the supreme garment would lift the profile of the awards internationally.
Ms Judd received a Bernina B350PE sewing machine valued at $2199 plus $1000 cash prize money.
Mildura designer Judy Bond backed up her previous wins to take out the knitted or crocheted garment section.
The fitted sleeveless cream cocktail dress was made from wool and alpaca fibre.’’
Judge David Tester said the gown had stylish elements and the wow factor.
“I simply took a crochet hook and ball of yarn to see where it would go – I didn’t want anything with seams, zips or buttons,’’ Judy Bond said.
“It is 70 per cent pure Merino wool and 30 per cent alpaca fibre.
“I love working with wool as it is soft and easy to manipulate.’’
Amanda Causer, of Wagga, is busy making millinery for clients to wear during the spring racing carnivals and won the millinery section with a Gold Cup entry.
“One of my clients asked me to make a hat to wear with her outfit for the Wagga Gold Cup and that was the winning entry,’’ she said.
“The wool felt headpiece has pink and orange flowers, and pheasant feathers.
“The competition was tough so I was grateful to have a win.’’
Ms Causer works at Charles Sturt University, is a dressmaker and does millinery as a hobby.
She also entered a red cape in the accessories section and brown and gold coat dress, a finalist in the supreme award.
Faye Marks, Wodonga, won the accessories award for her scrumbled wool, cotton and mohair knitted and crocheted jacket in green tonings.
Seventeen-year-old Mollie O’Halloran, of Yarrawonga, won the student encouragement award for her green and pink floral jumpsuit.
Chosen from nine finalists, the winning garment was modelled by Mollie with the judges complimenting the design, style, handiwork and finish.
She received a Bernina Activa 125 sewing machine from Bernina and Julia’s Fabric Boutique, Wodonga.
Compere for this year was Albury designer Peta Schaefer, with modelling by Billabong High School Year 10 students, hair styling by Belinda Piffero and Wendy Percy, Wagga, and makeup by Arbonne Distributors.