Following the development of the Sydney Dance Company Production, Emergence, including the costume design by Dion Lee. Photograph shows Dion Lee in his studio in Chippendale. 21st December 2012. Photo by Tamara Dean

Tippped to win ... Dion Lee. Photo: Tamara Dean

THE Australian fashion designer Dion Lee has missed out claiming the International Woolmark Prize, losing to Belgian-born Christian Wijnants.

Though hotly tipped to win, Lee joined the runners-up in the competition, judged at London Fashion Week on Saturday evening.

Whittled down from a selection of over 70 designers from 16 other countries, the six finalists paraded their capsule collections for a front-row judging panel of eight fashion heavyweights that included Donatella Versace, Italian Vogue's Franca Sozzani and Victoria Beckham.

2013 International Woolmark Prize Final at ME London on February 16, 2013 in London, England. Picture by Dave Benett. For story about the Woolmark Prize by Alicia Kirby.

Fashion heavyweights ... (L-R) Donatella Versace, Diane von Fürstenberg, Franca Sozzani and Victoria Beckham. Photo: Dave Benett

From the multi-coloured palette of "merino fur" and cross-stitched pieces by India's Pankaj & Nidhi, to the pared-down monochrome offerings from Japan's DressedUndressed, each designer interpreted the brief to work with merino wool in a unique way.