Prince Charles not sheepish at wool promo

Britain's Prince Charles throws fleece onto a table during a visit to the Leenavale Sheep Stud at Sorell, near Hobart, Australia. Photo / AP
Britain's Prince Charles throws fleece onto a table during a visit to the Leenavale Sheep Stud at Sorell, near Hobart, Australia. Photo / AP

Farmers, fashionistas and even some fluffy sheep gathered to meet Prince Charles at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art and talk about Australia's wool industry.

As part of The Campaign For Wool, the prince met with five Aussie designers - Josh Goot, Dion Lee, Kym Ellery, Camilla Freeman-Topper (of Camilla and Marc) and Akira Isogawa - who all showed off their wool creations.

Prince Charles is set to arrive in New Zealand this weekend as he continues his tour.

The prince, who is a patron of The Campaign for Wool, was happy to stop and chat with the designers - as well as one of the models - at the event on Friday, which was hosted by Australian Wool Innovation.

Lee, who booked himself a place in February's prestigious International Woolmark Prize competition in London, by winning the Australian leg in July with his elegant and edgy tailored grey wool dress, was happy to show the prince his creation.

The 27-year-old Sydney-based designer said the prince liked the outfit, which featured sexy black criss-cross rubber film down the back, softened with delicate black blended wool sleeves.

"It was a great opportunity to show my brand and the collection to Charles - it's obviously an opportunity that doesn't come around every day," Lee told AAP after the event.

Lee said he chatted to Prince Charles about the Australian wool industry - what it was like working in it as an Australian fashion designer and the influences upon the industry.

"It was great to hear his feedback," Lee said.

"It was a highlight to be in a room with Prince Charles and with such esteemed members of the Australian fashion industry as well - it was a great moment."

The Campaign For Wool was launched globally on Australia Day 2010 in an effort to support struggling farmers.

Modelling an Akira Isogawa design, Bec Bisset - who was also holding a toy sheep - caught the Prince's eye as he perused the five outfits.

The prince even took a detour to speak with her: "He said, 'I didn't realise you were real' - he thought I was a mannequin," Bisset said.

"But I said, 'the sheep isn't real'.

"He asked me about my clothes, whether they were warm and comfortable and he also asked who designed them."

Prince Charles himself was dressed in a navy suit made of Australian merino wool from Tasmania and designed by tailors Anderson and Sheppard in the UK.

"We are very pleased to be given this opportunity to meet with HRH Prince of Wales and present some of our important Campaign for Wool partners," said Stuart McCullough, AWI CEO.

"With the support and endorsement of its patron, the global Campaign for Wool continues to connect to consumers around the world highlighting the benefits of wool in apparel and interiors."

Lee, who won $50,000 for the Australian prize, is now one of five global designers in the running for the $100,000 International Woolmark Prize, judged during London Fashion Week.

- AAP

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