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Back in September I met some of the designers working with AWI (Australian Wool Innovation) on their protegé project. Now, more than four months on the young upcoming designers have presented their completed collections in Florence, Italy.

The Protegé Project required the designers to create a line of clothing that included Merino wool as the primary fibre. The young designers worked with the fashion elite to create the items including, Karl Lagerfeld, Donnatella Versace, Calvin Klein, and Paul Smith. The two images above are taken from Jean-Pierre Braganza's collection (left, created with Karl Lagerfeld as his muse) and Ioannis Cholidis (right, working with Paul Smith). The other protegés were Kristian Aadnevik, Sandra Backlund, and Julian Louie.

Braganza's collection celebrates the female form by continuing the current penchant for body-con dresses. He creates extra depth in the dresses using Merino wool fabrics and wool crepe inserts. There were a few menswear items too.

Cholidis is a menswear designer who has an inventive take on colour which gained the interest of UK designer Paul Smith. His collection depicts the everyday life of a stylish young man who shifts easily between business and casual looks. It included shirts, jumpers and twinsets. His key idea is to reinvent classic pieces in Australian Merino wool, including jeans, peacoat, bomber and biker jackets.

I think that when you look at the designers new collections you can see why their mentors selected them. Cholidis' take on menswear is not too dissimilar to Smith, especially with the reinvention of classic pieces. Similarly, Braganza's slightly quirky take on womenswear reflects Lagerfeld's own designs. I think that all of the designers involved in the project are names to be remembered.