The Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize 2013

This is my newest fashion piece for The Glass Pineapple, which I loved writing! Give it a read and let me know who your favourite to win is!

Launched three years ago to shine a spotlight on exciting new talent, The Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize has been dubbed the one to watch for the next big thing in fashion. In just two months, four finalists will be taking to the catwalk for a chance to win this year’s title, a £25,000 endowment to help establish the winner’s label, one to one mentoring from a number of industry elites and, of course, a two night stay in a Dorchester hotel. The judging panel which includes Caroline Issa, Stephen Jones, Daphne Helayel and Nicholas Oakwell will certainly have their work cut out in choosing a winner from this diverse, talented and highly accomplished selection of finalists. Here’s a reminder of how Barbara Casasola, Fyodor Golan, Emilia Wickstead and Huishan Zhang landed the top spots.

Barbara Casasola

A graduate of Central Saint Martins and Istituto Marangoni, Barbara Casasola has an impressive CV, working for Roberto Cavalli, Lanvin and See by Chloe before launching her eponymous label in 2012. Casasola’s label embodies a sense of romantic minimalism, successfully balancing elegant architecture and a determination to fulfil her distinctive vision. Her AW13 collection saw the reinvention of her signature shape, the ankle-length column dress, experimenting with tailoring and silhouettes, extraordinary Madam Grès pleats, sheer panelling and colour blocking. What we love about Barbara Casasola’s unique and distinctive style is that it combines the innovative with the oh so wearable.

(Barbara Cassasola images courtesy of

Fyodor Golan

Differences are to be embraced and explored, or so goes the saying at Fyodor Golan. The design duo of Latvian Fyodor Podgorny and Israeli Golan Frydman met in London and launched their brand in 2010. Their signature emphasis on pure shape and form and attention to texture and detail has already earned them critical acclaim as the Fashion Fringe winners of 2011. Their success continues with their Autumn Winter collection, inspired by the 1967 film Belle De Jour, which exudes opulence, luxury and grown-up glamour. This season, shape and volume became their focus, crafting super short origami-esque silhouettes, folding and draping the luxe fabrics to perfection. With a variety of lavish prints, embroidery and shimmering embellishments, this decadent collection had the wow factor for us, converting couture-like creations into wearable pieces (although the floral printed disk worn over one model’s face served as a reminder that occasionally the notion of wearability should be abandoned…).

(Fyodor Golan images courtesy of Vogue)

Emilia Wickstead

Before launching her label in 2008 Emilia Wickstead established an impressive style CV as a graduate of Central Saint Martins and an employee of Giorgio Armani, Narcisco Rodrigeuz, Proenza Schouler and Vogue. Thanks to a certain fashion-conscious royal following her work, Wickstead’s label has already attracted a level of buzz for its fit-for-a-Princess English elegance. Her AW13-14 collection  does not disappoint, taking inspiration from the 1950s and offering up ladylike tailoring, soft fluid lines and irresistible femininity. With the seemingly conservative Prince of Wales checks and a neutral palette, Wickstead transforms and surprises, combining traditional prints with modern tailoring and adding contemporary colours to classic silhouettes. We loved the use of the clashing checks between the perfectly cut wool coats and collared mini dresses, their 1960s style a subtle hint to the future in a collection of Fifties elegance.

(Emilia Wickstead images courtesy of Vogue)

Huishan Zhang

Huishan Zhang, the third and most recent Central Saint Martin’s alumni in the shortlist, spent a year at Christian Dior before launching his label in 2011. His signature, a seamless blend of Chinese heritage and a contemporary Western influence includes beautiful embellishments and lace detailing, which has also appeared in his latest collection. His fresh approach to Autumn Winter radiates femininity and sophistication, utilising clean lines and simple shapes in a nod to the 1960s Pop Art aesthetic. For Zhang’s collection, the key was in the detail, featuring almost risqué lace panelling, charming floral embroidery and a sea of shimmering sequins; mixing textures from wet-look leather to delicate lace and tulle. His contemporary East-meets-West aesthetic embodies a culture, elegance and sophistication that we love.

(Huishan Zhang images courtesy of Vogue)

The grand final of the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize will take place on the 29th October.


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