A royal yarn

His wife may have garnered attention for her not unimpressive handle on appropriate fashions, but the Prince of Wales’ visit to Australia also included his own fashion foray in the capacity of his role as patron of The Wool Campaign.

And it was a shy year 10 student who was chosen to model one Aussie design for the royal visitor at the Museum of Contemporary Art last week.

Seventeen-year-old Brooke Pearce, who is completing year 10 at the Southern Highlands Christian School in Bowral, showcased a piece that won her the 2012 Wool4Skool prize. The deep pink skirt features a panel of multi-coloured strips that references a DNA helix.

‘‘DNA represents life and all the colours represent multi-culturalism and it’s all burnt together, like DNA is all burnt together,’’ Pearce said.

Her piece joined ensembles in wool from five leading designers – Akira Isogawa, Dion Lee, Josh Goot, Camilla and Marc, and Kym Ellery – were modelled for the prince, with each designer standing by for a chat about the merits of merino and the thinking behind their designs.

Dion Lee showcased a striking grey felt frock coat with anatomical detailing running down the back in woven PVC. The design won him this year’s Australian International Woolmark prize.

Josh Goot presented a sleek black tuxedo previously worn by Miranda Kerr for David Jones and Akira Isogawa presented a hand-embroidered cream ensemble with a thick plait along its neckline.

Ms Pearce said she was nervous at first but ‘‘[Prince Charles] was calm and collected so then I was calm, too.’’

He asked her if her design was comfortable and ‘‘the model actually answered and said it was comfy because, like, she was wearing it,’’ Miss Pearce said.

While wool has retained its premium position in the menswear sector – particularly for suits – cheaper, artificial fibres and fabrics have ‘‘challenged’’ its position in the women’s wear sector, said Peter Ackroyd, the executive director of the Prince of Wales’s Campaign for Wool. The campaign aims to re-gain ground for wool on the basis of its environmental benefits.

‘‘The Prince of Wales’ message [as the campaign’s patron] is basically one of sustainability,’’ Mr Ackroyd said. ‘‘Wool is biodegradable, renewable and sustainable, and it lasts … and people are starting to ask questions about the provenance of the clothing they buy and its environmental impact.’’

When it comes to fashion, Australian merino tops the class, Mr Ackroyd said.

‘‘It is the softest. It is the finest micron. And it is sought after,’’ he said.

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