The annual InStyle and Audi Women of Style Awards has announced the three shortlisted contenders as architect Clare Cousins, product designer Helen Kontouris and theatre designer Alice Babidge.

The Awards aim to award Australia's "most inspirational and innovative women across a range of categories".

"As well as being true leaders in their field, these women are also intelligent, compassionate and engaging. They are truly Women of Style," says Kirsten Galliott, editor, InStyle.

Previous winners in the Design category include Liane Rossler, 2012; Sasha Titchkosky, 2011; Melinda Dodson, 2010; and Abbie Galvin, 2009.

Winners will be announced at an event in May.


Clare Cousins, architect

Cousins is the recent winner of the Emerging Architects Prize in the Australian Achievement in Architecture Awards and of the 40-plus projects Cousins has worked on since founding her eponymous architecture practice in 2005, many have been singled out for recognition by industry awards. But closest to her heart has been her pro-bono work designing a highly adaptable, cost-efficient home suitable for survivors of the 2009 Black

Saturday bushfires in Victoria. Cousins also has a strong environmental approach and is praised by her peers: she is the 2013 Victorian Emerging Architect Prize winner."

Helen Kontouris, product designer

Since setting up Helen Kontouris Design in 2001, this designer has been highly praised: she was the Interior Design Excellence Awards Designer of the Year in 2009 and the People’s Choice Award winner in 2012. She has a keen sustainability focus and licenses her products to the likes of Alessi, Ritzenhoff, Schiavello and De Padova.

Her designs have also featured in more than 150 magazines, including industry bibles such as Monument, Domus (Italy) and Robb Report (USA).

Alice Babidge, theatre designer

With more than 50 theatre pieces, six operas and four films under her belt, Babidge is one of our most prominent set and costume designers. In her short career, she has worked with some of Australia’s most revered creatives, including Barrie Kosky, Andrew Upton, Cate Blanchett and Robyn Nevin. In 2013, she will expand her resume even further, undertaking costume and/or set design for six productions including The Maids and Waiting for Godot. She is also passionate about mentoring newcomers to her industry.

All nominees have been selected by InStyle. Winners are decided by the Women of Style judging panel, which includes: Deborra-lee Furness, actress and human rights advocate; Collette Dinnigan, fashion designer; Layne Beachley, entrepreneur and environmental campaigner; Jana Wendt, journalist and author; Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia; Gillian Armstrong, film director; Louise Olsen, Creative Director, Dinosaur Designs; Katie Page, CEO, Harvey Norman Holdings; and Anna Burgdorf, General Manager — Corporate Communications, Audi Australia.