Just for one night – between the menswear shows and haute couture – the city of lights becomes a city of wool for The International Woolmark Prize 2016/2017.

With nominees coming from six different regions (Asia; Australia & New Zealand; British Isles; Europe; India, Pakistan and Middle East; and the USA), the Woolmark Company nurtures the idea of a cosmopolitan approach to fashion. Past winners include American street favourites Public School, British colourful patchwork-lovers Teatum Jones and the Indian romantic behind the suave menswear Suket Dhir. All very different, but with one thing in common – their immaculate and innovative ways of imagining wool in a garment.

Garment by Tim Labenda, Europe.

This year’s award marks the return of the ceremony to Paris for the first time since its conceptual inception in 1953, when Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld got the award for the best use of the textile from what was then called the International Wool Secretariat. Tonight is also the first time since its revival in 2008 that both women’s and menswear designers are showcasing the best Merino looks together. In the womenswear category, the final face-off is between Faustine Steinmetz, Gabriela Hearst, Macgraw, Tim Labenda, Toton and Nachiket Barve, while the menswear sees Cottweiler, Rochambeau, Bounipun, Ex Infinitas, Münn and Tonsure..

Garment by Münn, Asia.

The judging panel which includes Shayne Oliver from Hood by Air, Victoria Beckham, and Bouchra Jarrar has a tough assignment – to choose the talent that will come away with $75,000,  access to Woolmark’s textile partners and to have their winning Merino wool capsule collection sold around the world.

Text by Dino Bonaci; images by Rankin