The Woolmark Prize Switches to Biannual, Balmain Taps Matteo Sgarbossa as CEO, and more news you missed

The International Woolmark Prize Evolves
The International Woolmark Prize is implementing significant changes to the competition this year, adopting a biannual schedule. Additionally, the cash prize for the winner is being increased by 50 percent to $300,000 AUS (approximately $195,000 USD). Established in 1953, the program aims to empower emerging designers by providing education, financial investment, and industry support to harness the potential of wool in their collections. Applications opened this past Tuesday and will continue until June 30th. The competition, previously held annually since its relaunch in 2012, is now extended to a two-year program starting from this edition, with a specific emphasis on sustainability and innovation. The Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation has also undergone modifications, now open to any brand within the fashion industry that has demonstrated pioneering innovations in merino wool for the first time. Previously, the award was exclusively available to emerging fashion brands. John Roberts, Managing Director of Woolmark, stated, “The International Woolmark Prize is committed to supporting young talent. To do this effectively, designers need more financial support, better access to sustainable materials and time to innovate with the latest technology. Our revised program aligns more closely with the evolving needs of the industry.” The Advisory Council comprises a diverse group of global industry figures, including but not limited to Gabriela Hearst, Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, Sinead Burke, Business of Fashion’s Tim Blanks, Head of Tmall Luxury Pavilion, Janet Wang, Founder and Chief Agitator Officer of Eco Age, Livia Firth, and Creative Director of Fondazione Sozzani, Sara Sozzani Maino. The winner of the 2023 International Woolmark Prize, Nigeria-based brand Lagos Space Programme, was announced last May. The Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation was given to Danish knitwear brand A.Roege Hove. Previous recipients of the International Woolmark Prize include Saul Nash, Matty Bovan, Richard Malone, Bode, Rahul Mishra, Edward Crutchley, and Matthew Miller, alongside fashion luminaries such as Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, and Valentino Garavani. Designers worldwide who meet the criteria can submit their applications for the prize until June 30th here.

Balmain Appoints Matteo Sgarbossa as CEO
Balmain has appointed Matteo Sgarbossa as CEO, effective May 6th, succeeding Jean-Jacques Guével, who stepped down in March after four years with the brand. Sgarbossa previously served as the international director at Givenchy for four years. Before his tenure at Givenchy, he held positions as VP of retail for Europe at Kering-owned Gucci and as international retail director at Mango. In his new capacity, he will oversee Balmain’s expansion efforts, under the ownership of Qatari private investment fund Mayhoola, aiming to enhance its international success across various regions, as stated by the brand. Sgarbossa’s appointment comes at a pivotal moment for Mayhoola, as they recently sold a 30 percent stake in Valentino to Kering, with the option for Kering to acquire 100 percent of Valentino by 2028. Concurrently, Pierpaolo Piccioli resigned as creative director of Valentino, with former Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele succeeding him—a decision analysts speculate involved both Kering and Mayhoola. Balmain chairman and Mayhoola CEO Rachid Mohamed Rachid said,“Today marks another moment that reflects our grand ambitions for Balmain, Matteo’s strong leadership skills and extensive experience in the fashion and luxury goods industry at senior levels make him the ideal person to lead Balmain. I trust that his energy and global market knowledge will be crucial in this new phase of Balmain and his partnership with Olivier Rousteing will lead to a very successful chapter in the history of the house.” [Vogue Business]

Sarah Richardson Launches ‘Beyond Noise’ Magazine
Sarah Richardson, the London-based stylist and former fashion creative director of Document Journal, is launching Beyond Noise, a new bi-annual print magazine and digital platform, alongside her husband, photographer Richard Bush, and investor Stefan Ericsson. Richardson has curated a team, including Holly Shackleton as editorial director at large, Fran Burns as sustainability fashion director, and Venetia Scott as senior fashion editor at large. Renowned contributors such as Juergen Teller, Mario Sorrenti, Malick Bodian, Sarah Mower, and Anders Christian Madsen are featured in the inaugural issue. The print magazine will be released in two separate volumes — “Beyond” and “Noise” — with one focusing on visuals and the other on text. The first issue boasts 12 covers, ranging from a self-portrait by Gray Sorrenti to actress Monica Bellucci captured by Juergen Teller. It features a letter by primatologist Jane Goodall, an interview with New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman, a Laurence Ellis-lensed photo spread showcasing rewilding in Patagonia, and more. While the print issue has secured advertisers such as Gucci, Prada, Loro Piana, and Celine, Bush emphasizes that the website holds greater commercial potential. Harnessing video, generative AI, and the metaverse, the website will offer unique showcases for fashion products. Richardson aims to modernise the traditional women’s magazine, straying away from “the same direction of the last 50 years where it’s fashion, beauty, social and celebrity,” she said. “The modern woman is more than that.” [BoF]

The 2024 CFDA Fashion Awards Headed Back to the American Museum of Natural History
The 2024 CFDA Fashion Awards presented by Amazon Fashion, hosted by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, will take place on October 28th. Returning to the American Museum of Natural History for the second consecutive year, the annual event promises to celebrate the best of American creativity. Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CFDA said, “The CFDA is thrilled to return to the American Museum of Natural History after the success of last year’s awards and looks forward to celebrating the best of American creativity and ingenuity this fall. We are grateful to Amazon Fashion for the continued support of our biggest fundraiser of the year benefiting the CFDA Foundation.” Supporters of the 2024 CFDA Fashion Awards include Shop with Google, sponsoring the American Emerging Designer of the Year award, and Hourglass, serving as this year’s Beauty Sponsor. Last year’s notable winners included Catherine Holstein, founder of Khaite, who clinched the American Womenswear Designer of the Year award for the second consecutive year. Willy Chavarria was honored as the American Menswear Designer of the Year. Additionally, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen of The Row secured the Accessories Designer of the Year award for the fourth time. The event also recognizes recipients of prestigious awards such as the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award, the Innovation Award presented by Amazon Fashion, the Media Award in honor of Eugenia Sheppard, the Founder’s Award in honor of Eleanor Lambert, the Environmental Sustainability Award, the Shop with Google American Emerging Designer of the Year, the Board of Directors’ Tribute, and the International Designer of the Year Award. [WWD]

Gucci’s Cruise 2025 Show
Gucci‘s Cruise 2025 show is set to debut at the Tate Modern in London on May 13th. This marks creative director Sabato De Sarno’s inaugural cruise collection since joining the brand in January of last year. Commenting on the choice of venue, Gucci stated, “Tate Modern stands as a hub of creativity and dialogue, where diverse perspectives converge to spark meaningful conversations and foster cultural exchange….Inspired by multiple journeys to London over time, where he immersed himself in the city’s diverse cultures, Sabato De Sarno seeks to capture the essence of London’s spirit — a coming together of ideas, styles and personalities, defined by contrasts that spark creativity.” Gucci has a deep-rooted connection to London, as its founder, Guccio Gucci, worked as a luggage porter and lift boy at The Savoy hotel in 1897. Inspired by the guests’ luggage, he later founded his eponymous luxury brand in Florence in 1921. In support of the local arts scene, Gucci will also contribute to the “Electric Dreams” exhibition at Tate Modern, opening this fall, and embark on a three-year partnership to promote the museum’s collaboration with young creatives. Last year, Gucci showcased its Cruise 2024 collection at the Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul on May 16th, commemorating 25 years of the brand’s presence in the country. As the cruise season approaches, Chanel is set to unveil its collection in Marseille on May 2nd, Louis Vuitton will show in Barcelona on May 23rd, and Dior will head to Scotland on June 3rd. [WWD]

Showtime Acquires the Rights to “Beyond the Aggressives: 25 Years Later”
Showtime has secured the rights to “Beyond the Aggressives: 25 Years Later,” a sequel to director Daniel Peddle’s groundbreaking documentary exploring ballroom culture and the experiences of masculine-presenting queer Black and Latino individuals who were assigned female at birth. Twenty-five years after the release of 2005’s “The Aggressives,” this follow-up reconnects with four original subjects to delve into the developments in their lives since the initial film. Topics covered include their encounters with issues such as being detained by ICE, accessing gender-affirming care, and establishing their own families. “Beyond the Aggressives: 25 Years Later” is scheduled to premiere in New York and Los Angeles on Nov. 17, coinciding with Transgender Awareness Week, following its world premiere at NewFest in New York City on Oct. 18. The documentary will debut on streaming and on-demand platforms for Showtime subscribers this spring before its on-air release at a later date. [Variety]

Angelina Kendall On Her Meteoric Rise to Top Model spoke to top 50 model Angelina Kendall during her first trip home to Sydney since launching her international career, where she shared the details of her rapid rise from obscurity to prominence. Check out the interview directed by Willy Lukaitis here.

For Casting Director Isabel Bush the Street Is Essential for Inspiration spoke with casting director Isabel Bush about how she first moved to London after looking at i-D, the importance of working with collaborators like Tamara Rothstein, and the power of a model’s gaze. Check out the interview here.

Ally Macrae on How Ballet Informs Her Work as a Stylist spoke to Austarilian stylist Ally Macrae about studying fine art and internships in fashion and costume design, that led her to find her niche in styling—a realm that allowed her to explore a myriad interests. Now her portfolio includes collaborations with brands like Dilara Findikoglu, and publications Vogue France, D Repubblica, and Dust Magazine. Check out the interview here.

MDC Selects: These MDC Selects Are A Creative Set
Six new faces have arrived for this week’s MDC Selects. Find out more about the rookies and how they got scouted here.