Monday, 12 November 2012

The Hand & Lock Prize for Embroidery 2012, A review

Photo: Irena Dragic

 With the Prize for Embroidery 2012 winners announced, we at Hand & Lock would like to divulge some more detail about the winning designs and what went into our hugely successful event at the Fashion and Texiles Museum on November 5th

Photo: Irena Dragic
The hotly anticipated evening began with an introductory speech from our Managing Director, Gregor Clemens and Creative Director, Scott Gordon Heron.

Once each guest’s voting card was out and ready to be marked, the models were ready to begin their descent down the runway.

Photo: Irena Dragic

With the splendid display of each of the 12 finalists’ designs completed it was time for an exclusive showing of Association d’Ermites; Hand & Lock’s very own in-house collection.

Photo: Irena Dragic

'A mysterious enigmatic tale that teams the hyper-modern with the remote and the authentic’ Hand & Lock’s very own designs received a rapturous applause from the awe-struck crowd.

It was then time for the crux of the evening, the results of the vote. Guests eagerly scrambled back to their seats in wait of the announcement. Cheers erupted from all sides of the hall as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners ascended the steps to collect their well-deserved prizes.

The Lord Mayor of Westminster, Angela Harvey, along with our Chairman Alastair Macleod presents our 1st Place prize winner Lilla Balasz with a beautiful golden hand embroidered plaque.
Photo: Irena Dragic

‘Sophisticated, edgy and inspired by immaculate craftsmanship’ her intricate design impressed both the judges and voters alike.

Up close, we can see how Lilla utilised a variety of hand embroidery techniques. An irregular weave can be seen on the right shoulder of the design, wherein cut golden fabric was delicately woven into the fabric to create an asymmetrical patchwork effect.

Tambour beading can also be seen tapering downwards to the waist to create an outline encompassing the french knots in the centre as they sharply increase in density. Her liberal use of tufting underlines the textured fur of the garment with black tassels elegantly draping over the shoulders and cuffs of the sleeve. This achieves a classy, almost timeless aura that was able to enthrall the judges and voters.

Our 2nd placed finalist, Freya Sjofn Hrafndottir, receives her silver commemorative Hand & Lock plaque
Photo: Irena Dragic

Finding inspiration in ‘natural history and science subjects’, Freya’s design incorporated green moss stitching flowing down the centre of her garment from collar to hem, accompanied by a hand embroidered rucksack.

From this angle, we can see how Freya innovatively used padding under the appliqué on her backpack to create the raised nodules. Combined with a tasteful use of Irish machine embroidery, she was able to add a delicate contrast using light shades of blue and orange against the earthy green tones. Her inspiration derived from natural science is clearly evident, with her skillful use of hand embroidery techniques able to act as a beautifully effective platform.

Our 3rd place finalist, Danielle Davies, receives her bronze commemorative Hand & Lock plaque.
Photo: Irena Dragic

Her ‘passion and future’ laying in equestrian design, Danielle’s decorative use of ribbon work won her many plaudits from the crowd and judges.


Her colourful use of ribbon work takes heavy inspiration from her own memories ‘spent traveling the country attending horse shows’ with her ribbon work rosettes, made using leather, acting as a central theme. The necktie and shoes combine a mixture of metallic ribbon, hand-beading, and golden buttons that act to vividly portray a classy, equestrian aesthetic.

After the prize giving ceremony was over, it was up to our Chairman Alastair Macleod to deliver a closing speech. He thanked all who made the event so special and added how proud he was of the winners for their ability in further pushing the boundaries of what can be done with embroidery in all walks of fashion.

Zandra Rhodes appreciating the Lord Mayor of Westminster’s wonderful Diamond Jubilee Robe, the first of its kind in over 50 years, hand embroidered and crafted by Hand & Lock.
Photo: Irena Dragic

So with the Prize for Embroidery 2012 over we can now look forward to next years prize. We eagerly anticipate a new batch of contestants who can further innovate, design and push the boundaries of embroidery further than ever before.

To see all the finalist’s designs in stunning full-page views along with each contestant’s brief and inspirations behind their ideas you can purchase the 2012 Prize for Embroidery Catalog here.


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