Avid followers of FKA Twigs have likely noticed her recent affinity for group choreography. The lauded British artist has pursued pole dancing as a powerful visual component to her boundary-pushing music—her instructor once said that she’s a bona fide prodigy—on the critically acclaimed 2019 album Magdalene, and recorded a video fending off unseen forces through dance for the single “Don’t Judge Me.” Her latest outing, the buoyant mixtape Caprisongs, sees Twigs embark on a “journey back to myself” through collaborators and friends—many of whom move confidently with her in playful clips shared to Instagram.
Twigs dives even deeper into dance with PLAYSCAPE, a short film she directed alongside Zak Kyes to formally launch the next chapter of her “Avant Garden” collective and celebrate the seven finalists of the International Woolmark Prize, the annual accolade honoring emerging fashion talent showcasing the versatility of Australian Merino wool. The film opens with an empty gallery of play structures by Isamu Noguchi, the late Japanese sculptor who conceived “playscapes” that helped radically redefine physical and social interaction with artwork in the 20th century. An ensemble cast of characters, donning garments by prize finalists, soon enters an imaginary landscape where they follow choreography by Juliano Nunes to the punk classic “Identity” by X-Ray Spex, melding elements of ballet with hip-hop and contemporary dance.
“For some, play is best left to children,” Kyes says. “But it’s through play that creativity is sparked and new perspectives are created. Our vision for the Woolmark Prize is to create a playground for the next generation of fashion talent to collide with dance, art, music, and design. FKA Twigs was the perfect collaborator because of her polymathic practice and singular voice. We are indebted to Noguchi for providing the inspiration to take play seriously.”
The finalists of the 2022 prize include Ahluwalia, EGONLAB, Jordan Dalah, Peter Do, Saul Nash, RUI, and MMUSOMAXWELL. This year, they were asked to present Merino wool collections focused on play as a mode of creative exploration. Each finalist is up for three accolades—the titular prize, the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation, and the Woolmark Supply Chain Award—that will be selected by a panel of judges including Carine Roitfeld, Naomi Campbell, Marc Newson, and Riccardo Tisci. The winners will be announced in London on April 26.
It’s not the first time the Woolmark Prize has presented its finalists under the halo of a cultural powerhouse. Last year, the prize collaborated with Solange’s creative agency Saint Heron on a like-minded film where dancers flowed gracefully across theatrical backdrops that felt like an extension of her world-making practice. The movements this time around feel chaotic but calculated—an authentic mirror of Twigs’s evolving creative expression, which embraces happy accidents and merges influences from fashion, art, dance, and music.