The Montana World Of Wearable Art™ Awards Show 2009

TSB Arena, Queens Wharf, Wellington

24/09/2009 - 03/10/2009

Production Details


The first round of judging for this year’s Montana World of WearableArt™ (WOW®) Awards is complete and once again, people have been inspired from all over the world to enter. It seems a global recession has set many people’s creative spirits alight with fresh ideas. As Plato once said, necessity is the mother of invention, and according to Suzie Moncrieff (WOW® Founder) the judges were highly impressed with the array of innovative entries.

"After 21 years it’s very rewarding to still be inspired by the richness of people’s imaginations," says Moncrieff.

The judges for 2009 are: British born, Associate Royal Sculptor Max Patte, fashion designer and businesswoman Annah Stretton as well as Suzie Moncrieff. Oscar winning film-maker Richard Taylor joins them at the second judging in September to decide the WETA Award.

"Having seen the standard of previous years’ garments my expectations were high," says Max Patte. "Those expectations were blown out of the water. I was quite honestly amazed…really really impressed… wow. The diversity and standard of entries should ensure a knockout show."

The panel of judges selected 165 finalists to grace the stage in September. Finalists have come from the breadth and length of the country – from Maungaturoto to Dunedin, and internationally across nine markets with particularly high numbers from Australia, India and the USA.

"We have some extreme talent in New Zealand and WOW® provides a perfect platform to showcase and award this," says Annah Stretton. "Evaluating the garments close up gave me great insight into the huge levels of creativity and excellence of execution and simply reinforced what a truly exceptional event this is."

Entries flocked in from the film, fashion, photography, craft, textile, design, sculpting, saddlery and art worlds and designers were challenged to create something that would have impact on a 40-metre arena stage, in one of seven sections.

"The Centreport Illumination Illusion® section, which is unique to WOW®, is very challenging as you have to design from the negative to create something that works under ultra violet light," explains Suzie. "We had record entries this year which had to work with the theme ‘float, fly, flow’ and they’re going to be mesmerizing on stage."

The Children’s Section themed ‘At the bottom of the garden’ encouraged designers to weave magic into the beauty of our natural flora and fauna. The Air New Zealand South Pacific Section had an added layer of complexity requiring designers to work with ‘patterns of the pacific’; drawing inspiration from Mâori and South Pacific artists, carvers and weavers such as Michael Tuffery, Ralph Hotere, Cliff Whiting and Robyn Kahukiwa. The Tourism New Zealand Avant Garde Section challenged designers to create something revolutionary and extravagant, yet stylish and made with skill – no easy task. The crowd pleasing Man Unleashed Section – running alternate years with Bizarre Bra – is themed ‘Magnificent Men’ and entrants had to be flamboyant, risky, inventive and "lift men out the drabness of today’s fashion" says Suzie.

All 165 garments will be showcased in the Montana WOW® Awards Show – a mind bending, sensory feast of drama, music, lighting, construction, dance, theatre and comedy.

Tickets are available for this year’s show on-line at The show is poised to be another extravaganza with special nightly performances from the comedy duo, the Topp Twins. The show season runs from 24th September to 4th of October at the TSB Bank Arena in Wellington.
*Montana Wines from New Zealand are devoted supporters of creativity, and are the naming partner of the Montana WOW® Awards Show.
New Zealand’s Montana World of WearableArt™ Awards Show is one of the most prestigious art competitions on the planet, described as a glorious rebellion against the mundane.


Pre Show Performers:
Fergus Aitken - Pre show co-ordinator, Mr Fungus
Kim Potter - Vinyl Burns
WOW® Show Performers

Pre Show Music:
The Mamaku Project

Guest Performers:
The Topp Twins  
Legacy Dance Crew - South Pacific Section | Choreographer - Ben Uili. | Dancers - Adam Avei, Pat Godinet, Richie Karati, Jonate Lealea, Yashua Lesa-Amataga, Ray Letoa, Tony Moetaua, Haini Palu, Alesana Pereira, Corey Solomona, Ezra Toma
Strike - South Pacific Section: Stephanie Engelbrecht, Murray Hickman, Sam Minns, Takumi Motokawa, Leni Sulusi

Dance Captain:
Dan Cooper
Male Dancers:  Francis Christeller, Matt Gibbons, Taane Mete, Taiaroa Royal, Paora Taurima, Jesse Wikiriwhi 
Female Dancers:  Maria Dabrowska, Claire Lissaman, Kelly Nash, Halina Wolyncewicz, Liana Yew  

Show Groups:

New Zealand School of Dance:
Tom Bradley, Fleur Cameron, Levi Cameron, Emma Cullinan, Yan Hoa Du, Rebekha Duncan, Zoe Dunwoodie, Danielle Finnie, Kimiora Grey, Marcus Louend, Alice Macann, Daniel McCarroll, Andrew Miller, Jono Selvadurai

Footnote Dance, National New Zealand Dance Company: 
Anita Hunziker, Sarah Knox, Jeremy Poi 

Adult Models
Lucy Aitchison, Katy Arrowsmith, Alice Ashford, Grace Becker, Lucy Beeler, Molly Bergquist, Ella Blake, Brigid Costello, Frances Duffin, Rekha Fernandez, Jasmine Fisher, Shayna Gardner, Grace Hessell, Catherine Hobbs, Yuki Izuka, Anya Kouzminova, Larissa Lal-Ponini, Shannon Lindsay, Hattie Logan, Hannah Main, Evgenia Makarevich, Lauren Mann, Elyse Moore, Sophie Petley, Yanna Petter, Charlette Potts, Nadine Probst, Shanti Probst, Nicola Provost, Anna Sheffield, Bianca Shields, Ebony Sushames, Kelsey Thompson, Bulou Tuisue, Kim van Ryn, Candice Warren, Jane Wenley, Georgie Wright
Senol Akbaba, Jamie Burgess, Mitchell Burrows, Frank Denaro, Jesse Drysdale, Chamika Gajanayaka, Joshua Kidd, Rick Komene, Vlad Lashman, Tom Logan, Cameron Lowry, Thomas McArthur, Allan McLeod, Benjamin Nichols, Ben Ramsay, Guy Ryan, Dylan Selkirk, Sharn Te Pou, Ili Tugaga, Theodore Va'a

Alison Goffin, Jen McArthur, Helen White
Bruce Alecock, Jason Chasland, Trevor Faatui, Ross Gray, Mark Spratt, Leo Tanirau

Jeremy Cater-Hook, Renee Hargreaves, Elise Holzer, Evie Labett, Penny Linton, John Paul Lowe, Meredith Metcalfe, Betty-Alice Orr-McFaull, Harry Russon, Angela Singh, Emma Stephens

Madison Antipas, Samantha Best, Courteney Bevan, Emilia Brown, Harriet Dacre, Jessica Gill, James Gill, Olivia Hartshorne, Becky Hawthorne, Renee Hawthorne, Maddy Hayward, Zoe Isaacs, Danee Keegan, Ana Kovalenko, Barnaby Manktelow, Holly McMahon, Sarah Ngan Kee, Becky Odams, Palepa Porebski, Mackenzie Reeve, Emily Ross, Emma Thompson, Mia Uluilelata, Emma Walker  


Design Team
Shane Clayton - Sound Designer
David Eversfield - Lighting Designer
Michael Hodgson - Video Producer, Scripting
Letty Macphedran - Costume Designer, Scripting
John Verryt - Show Designer, Scripting

Choreography & Direction
Taane Mete - Man Unleashed Section Choreographer
Julie Nolan - Children's Section Director
Taiaroa Royal - South Pacific Section Director
Halina Wolyncewicz - Assistant Choreographer

Production Team
Nick Kyle - Production Manager
Larissa Marno - Stage Manager

Wardrobe Team
Vanessa Kirkham - Assistant Backstage Manager
Tammy Green - Wardrobe Co-ordinator
Deb Price - Garment Technician

Sewing & Costumes
Kirstin McKee - Head of Sewing Department
Amy Jansen-Leen - Character Costume Co-ordinator

Cast Co-ordination
Katie Burton - Cast & Crew Co-ordinator
Jan Bergquist - Children's Co-ordinator

Hair & Make Up
Cherie McIntyre - Hair Design
Lisa Davis - Make Up Design
Debra Hawkins - WelTec Head of School Hairdressing, Beauty Therapy, & Makeup Artistry
Dany Pike - WelTec Lead Tutor
Wanda Menchi - WelTec Lead Tutor

Front of House Team
Jamie Wilson - Front of House Manager
Tanya Beswick - VIP Hosting & Marketing Co-ordinator
Sioned Winterton - Merchandising Co-ordinator
Di Buckingham - Ticketing Supervisor
Loren Aberhart - Media Liaison

Eelco Boswijk - Patron

Scripting Team:
Alyx Duncan, Ian Hammond, Mike Hodgson, Malia Johnson, Letty Macphedran, Emma Moncrieff, Suzie Moncrieff, John Verryt

WOW Signature Theme Composer:
Jo Blankenburg

Storyteller - Angela Barnett

Head of Props:
Rod Tervoort

Prop Makers:
Mary Bier, Ruth Carr, Heather Wallace, Sam Williams

Electronic Props Designer:
Peter Vosper - Vospertron

Sewing Department:
Jo Croft, Poppy Macphedran, Sarah Muir, Annemiek Weterings

Garment Technicians:
Hamish Brown, Julie Main

Character Costume Assistants:
Cinnamon Green, Liz Boyle, Pauline Henderson, Sue Leen, Tara Low, Eliza Thompson-Munn 

Nelson Wardrobe Department:
Jenny Cox, Vicki Brown, Pam Dick, Nina Firth, Deb Price, Gill Saunders 

Maree Booth, Emma Bottomore, Keb Brabazon, Kimberly Brabazon, Kylie Bryant, Alex Buckley, Jessie Cameron, Sharon Cavanagh, Rebecca Clancy, Grace Clarke, Julie Clement, Lucinda Crowther, Lesley Dee, Felicity Donaldson, Natalie Dowman, Alexandra Druart, Sian Farr, Heather Fernades, Ann Gibbons, Anna Gillies, Nic Gillooly, Laura Glasgow, Deirdre Haines, Sue Hannaway, Brett Harrington, Philippa Horrell, Heather Horton, Kate Hudson, Miranda Hurley, Melanie Hutton, Bridget Jopson, Alicia Kissick, Laura Kuggeleijn, Leona Latham, Danielle Lewis, Christina Lorth, Linda Luong, Vicki Lyndsay, Zelda MacKenzie, Sarah McAllum, Linda McCarthy, Phyllis McCaul, Deb Mills, Hayley Morrice, Sarah Nelson, Fiona O'Kane, Davina Payne, Jennifer Pearce, Janet Petter, Hannah Potts, Nicola Potts, Tatyana Protsenko, Jessie Rahui, Lauree Rickard, Catherine Robertshawe, Angela Shepherd, Leslie Simmons, Lalla Smits, Belinda Speedy, Jill Stevens, Katy Stevens, Anne Stevenson, Samantha Taylor, Anne ten Brooke Smith, Sharon Topham, Lin Tucker, Lesley Udy, Jo Warrington, Alison Watts, Christina Weber

Hair Design:
Cherie McIntyre from N.M.I.T Professional Hairdressing assisted by WelTec's School of Hairdressing team Debra Hawkins (Head of School), Wanda Menchi, Helen Johnston, Linda Heath, Lesley Whitecliffe-Smith, Tracy Jones and students Phoebe Bassant, Alla-Lee Kadyence Broadbent, Daniel Cooke, Sarah Cooke, Frances Dempsey, Belinda Gallon, Marusha Ison, Samantha Jack, Claire James, Sarah Jane Jones, Ratha Khin, Dinah Luke, TJ Montgomery, Casey Myers, Kwanruan Nutchum, Angie Riyad, Shanita Robin, Betty Song, Kristen Stevens, Yasmin Tuffery, Maria Tuisaula, Claire Visser, Ashleigh Watt, Emma Wiggett, Dominique Whittaker.  Also assisted by N.M.I.T students Stephanie Clark, Megan Duncan, Nadine Hughes, Christie Kinghorn, Vicky-Lee Longley, Stephanie Ross.

Makeup Design:
Lisa Davis from About Beauty Studio assisted by WelTec's School of Beauty Therapy and Makeup Artistry's team Dany Pike, Michelle Ford, Kirstine McNeil, Kristal Mead, Debra Schultz and students Natalie Allen, Emily Angus, Kelly Avery, Jody Barker, Amanda Berryman, Shannon Braggins, Ning Chen, Rhiannon Cogdale, Sam Commins, Bernie Felo, Yvonne Gemmell, Leonie Gill, Aimee Greene, Pru Hamilton, Jess Hansen, Ashleigh Henderson, Kirsten Heppleston, Antwaneit Hermez, Suzette Herrick, Robyn Holland, Bridget King, Kimberly Knight , Alex McKeown, Kelly McVey, Jacqueline Meyers, Courtenay Morris, Harriet Myles, Jordan Paranihi, Wendy Peagram, Linda Shamoon, Alicia Smyth, Gabby Stern, Onyx Tahuri, Kirsten Vreyenhoek, Lucy Walker, Fang Xie, Jennifer Yates, Sarah Elliott Anjuli Yiasoumi

Character Make Up:
Maria Leyden - Co-ordinator
Assisted by Luci Hare, Jasmine Amohau, Alanna Hastings, Rangi King, Kate Wilcox

Deputy Stage Manager:
Pam Hindmarsh

Assistant Stage Managers:
Rachel Callinan, Natasha James

Vicki Cooksley, Aimee Froud

Assistant Children's Co-ordinator: 
Bronte Bergquist

Children's Dressers:
Elaine Corlett, Phillipa Hawthorne

Merchandise Team:
Jaysell Gopal, Annabelle Archibald, Melanie Brindeau, Liz Brodsky, Andrea Byrne, Emily Dayton, Cassie Duray-Bito, Harita Gandhi, Shikha Goyal, Carrie Griffin, Katherine Hoby, Emma Hopkins, Edith King, Alicia Kissick, Laura Kuggeleijn, Jenna Lawson, Ewelina Lewandowska, Rachael Lewis, Karen Mackersy, Cindy Mai, Natasha McDougall, Kit O'Connor, Lia O'Neale, Emily Orbanek, Desiree Phillipps, Wendy Rozenberg, Suman Sajwan, Manuela Schulze, Elena Sedouch, Penny Thomas, Fynn Thomas, Tam Tran, Lana Vaursai, Jenny Visvalingam, Tania Williams, Kana Yoo

Head Rigger:
Andrew Gibson

Andrew Ayrton, Glen Ayrton, Steve Chambers, Tjerk Riemersma, Will Yapp

Head Mechanist:
Glenn Watts

Site Manager:
Geoff Goss

Jack Budd, Eddie Clark, Jamie Collings, Damien Dekok, Peter Dransfield, Paul Edlund, Will Frew, Kieran Gunn, Sam Harpur, Matt Inns, Jarren Jackson, James Kearney, Tama Liumaihetau, Chris Lonergan, Tania Ruru, Fiona Shaw, Jacob Slankard, David Smith

Lighting Board Operator:
Reuben Morrison

Followspot Operators:
Doug Ballanach, Eleanor Cooke, Zeb Mansell, Keri Manuel

Video Operator:
Phil Lovell

Sound Equipment:
Western Audio

Lighting Equipment:
MJF Lighting

Video Equipment:

Show Photographers:
Martin de Ruyter - The Nelson Mail
Craig Potton - Craig Potton Publishing
Neil Price - Wellington City Council

VIP Catering:
Ruth Pretty Catering

Cast & Crew Catering:
Restaurant Associates

Show After Party:
Chris Morley-Hall - Co-ordinator

Shaun Madgwick - The Darkroom
Rangi Matthews aka 2ezy - World of Talent Crew
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Management Team
Gabrielle Hervey - Chief Executive
Donna Ching - Brands and Strategy Manager
Heidi Mathieson - Marketing Manager
Jude Spencer - Administration Manager
Ingrid Peek - Wardrobe Manager

WearableArt Development Charitable Trust
Kerry Marshall - Chairman
Bronwyn Monopoli 
Robbie Burton
Suzie Moncrieff
Heather Palmer

Board of Directors
Suzie Moncrieff, Heather Palmer, Gabrielle Hervey, Robert Philpott

A visual feast of the highest order

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 28th Sep 2009

Just as a group of Canadian visionaries turned their 1980s street performances into an "international phenomenon providing high-quality artistic entertainment throughout the world"[i], so too has the founder of the Montana World of Wearable Arts (WOW), Suzie Moncrieff, and her dedicated team expanded her 1987 rural art gallery promotional idea of taking "art off the wall to adorn the human form"[ii], into an iconic national annual event and an international hit. Suzie has created a sustainable artistic marvel that mirrors the success of Guy Laliberté’s Cirque du Soleil.

Balancing its community spirited beginnings against an economic environment that demands that professional events are financially viable and able to leverage tangible returns to its investors, Suzie and the originators are also charged with the vicarious responsibly of ensuring WOW does not lose its original heart, its aroha, its roots: the unique fuel created in Nelson 23 years ago.

So how has 2009 panned out? Remarkably. That community-fuel is still part of the artistic core, yet the show’s commercial and sponsor expectations and are also nurtured, resulting in an unforgettable night of awe-inspiring WearableArt from some of NZ’s finest creative minds, paraded around and amongst dramatic brilliance and technical wizardry from some of our finest theatre designers and executed by a extremely skilled and disciplined production team.

WOW remains a visual feast of the highest order.

A key element of success is ensuring the vignettes of theatrical performance, which link each design section, do not upstage the garments themselves. WOW‘s Artistic Directors and the 5-person strong Design team ensure the balance between dramatic show and competition showcase is just right.

Unless someone is commissioned to write a short novel about this show, it is impossible to mention all its out-standing moments, as every garment and every transition performance (or performance element within a section), is a masterpiece.

Often programmes are over-priced yet under-deliver on interesting detail: not so with WOW. I would highly recommend purchasing and reading the programme, to maximise your enjoyment and involvement in the show. I would also recommend getting to the (transformed) TSB Bank Arena well ahead of kick-off, to immerse yourself into this new world, as the sweet groove of The Mamaku Project plays pre-WOW music. If you’re lucky, your usher will be the cheeky Mr Fungus or the off-the-wall Vinyl Burns, two of Wellington’s best interactive improv artists.

Bang on 8pm (full respect to the stage management team), and as the lone woman who has been busy hanging out her washing upstage finishes her chores; Dilly and Prue Ramsbottom (AKA Jools and Lynda Topp) wander on stage and turn the usual house keeping messages about photography and exits into a hilarious mischievous work of art.  

One technical niggle – The Twins’ headset mics – I think they are called "laveliers"? – did not deliver clarity or pick up enough vocal gain. By contrast, as soon as the Twins grabbed the more powerful hand held cordless mics in Man Unleashed, we could hear clearly without crackle, muffle and distortion.

The first showcase of garments is The Children’s Section – this year the inspirational phrase is "At the bottom of the garden". The Peter Pan vs. Hook projected sword fight segues beautifully into a wonderful cascade of vines from the skies, followed by a gorgeous giant nest.

Vibrant colour and creatures were popular choices for many entrants, although section winner, The Dandelion Clock by Tracey Koole, Auckland, has an earthy core and is brilliantly brought to life by 3 young models – as are all the garments, thanks to the talented troupe of WOW children, under the direction of Julie Nolan.

Other stand out designs on stage include the Hundertwasser-ish Miro, Miro, Quite Contrary by Norelle Kendrick of Nelson (commended) and runner up My Big Bloomer by Paula Rowan of Wellington. Also impressive on stage is the vibrant lime-green Hum Bug; the splendid troll on a trike, called Nilbog The Garden Goblin, whose model gave him real character, the environmentally friendly creatures – Mulchkin and Recyclapede and finally, the quaint and dainty dancers forming The Daisy Chain.

The organic transition sees the grass uprooted by earthy dancers emerging from underground. Hook reappears in the wall of sheets, which thanks to some amazing mechanists, riggers & designers, then falls into the exact shape of Hook’s ship with the Capt. at the helm – incredible! (Wonderful work too by video producer Michael Hodgson).

Next is the Air New Zeland South Pacific Section, with a giant projection of a graffiti artist creating a new façade. Director Taiaroa Royal’s choice of music is a fabulous fusion of urban contemporary hip-hop and traditional karanga, haka and conch: the perfect underlay for garments taking their inspiration from "Patterns of the Pacific".

Stand-outs on stage include the authenticity of Tidal Traveller by Rita Schrieken of Paraparaumu (commended); the bright and bold Tikini, by Gillian Saunders of Nelson (runner up); the outstanding head gear of Poly-Prop; the texture and rich detail of In An Octopus’s Garden and crowd favourite, Hidden Assassin, featuring a fury mammal hiding in a place which reveals Designer Lauren Kid has a great sense of humour. Interestingly, the section winner, Rock On In The Shadowlands by Janet Bathgate of Nelson, conveys little of the WearableArt factor from the audience’s perspective, though the trio of dresses and eyewear are beautifully made. No doubt close up, there are impressive design details that are hard to convey in the epic environs of the stage.

The next segue is a technical and visual feast, featuring two top Wellington groups. Percussion ensemble Strike descends from the skies, while hip-hop dance sensation Legacy emerges from the floor to inject their energy into the night. After this remarkable rhythm, ethereal music plays in the darkness and your senses welcome stillness, which allows the mind to go back into neutral before the next visual stimulus.

White ghost-like dancers gently twist on up-lit plinths as we head into the complete freedom of expression of the America Express Open Section.

Many designers choose animals, the weather and fun as their start point for wearable magic. More so than in other part of the evening, the diversity of this section is intriguing. The eerie Lagarus Ovatus En Masse by Catherine Anderton of Wellington, with its absorbing eyes, is both Runner Up & Winner of the Booker Spalding First Time Entrant Award. By contrast, Let Me Bee and Spring Bride, brought to life by suitably vivacious models, are highly entertaining to watch in action. Heavy metal never looked so elegant as it did on DaVina by Frank Strunk III of the United States (commended). The beautiful Cumulus gives a graceful new lease of life to 1400 recycled plastic milk bottles, while a completely different cloud, Meteor-ology is a fascinating dark stormy crush. However, it is the fabulous bright and shiny American Dream, by Sarah Thomas, of Timaru, that is the winner on the day.

As the hard working and highly versatile WOW Dance Troupe (along with the NZ School of Dance and Footnote Dancers) seamlessly transform the graceful ghosts into stunning whirling dervishes, we move into the CentrePort Wellington Illumination Illusion section.

Luminescent shapes fly around, seemingly at random, and then form a stunning butterfly. The brief being to use the magic of UV light to give the appearance of levitation, many designers chose an aquatic theme to enhance the illusion of weightlessness.

A highly entertaining section, even the most simple of designs, such as Bright Eyes, Life’s A Ball, White Flags, Long White Cloud and Crazy Frog (a crowd favourite), have dramatic presence thanks to the enhancement of UV. However, both the commended Psychedelic Symphony by Janice Elliott of Christchurch and the runner up, butterfly inspired Wanderer by Sue Cederman of Motueka, give good reason for their placement, by adding a layer of intricate detail to their work. In a league of its own is section winner, Into Thin Air by Marie Gant Roxburgh of Christchurch: Her giant eroding face is an evocative memorable work of fine art.

As the evening shifts from UV to AV, for a retrospective celebration of the last 20 years of WOW, petals fall like butterflies from the roof, a subtle reference back to the image that started the section. Special touches like this, dotted throughout the evening, are indicative of the meticulous thought and care the creative team have given every second of this extraordinary event.

Next is the gen-i Creative Excellence Section, which encourages designers to celebrate the artistic fold as they create. WOW‘s puppeteers integrate their precision and talent, by unfolding a gigantic dancing man, the perfect backdrop for a series of impressive garments.

Wonderful to watch in motion is the Runner Up to the Supreme Montana WOW Award – and Winner of the section – the semi-lucid reptilian wonder, Second Skin, by Hayley May & Fiona Christie of Wellington. Also very beautiful in action is Fold’s runner up, Behind Closed Doors, by Kathryn Preston & Angie Robinson of Christchurch. Taking full advantage of the permission to use up to 3 models per entry, with a trio of silver and white, is the Runner Up for the Wellington International Award – and Commended in this section – Screen Play, by Amy Jean Boebel & Sue Hobby of the United States.

Other crowd favourites include golden girl and winner of the Shell Sustainability Award, Queen Adelaide (made of car radiator copper) by Emma Whiteside of Wellington. Firebird by Susan Holmes, of Auckland is the winner of the Untouched World WOW Factor Award.

You know it’s gunna get interesting when the music switches to a good ole fashion how-down. As a mini covered in mirror balls makes a magnificent entrance, a troupe of gorgeous drag queens set the mood for the evening’s most popular section, The WOW & Classic Cars Museum Man Unleashed. Quite apart from the fantastic WearableArt – highlights being the impressive roll out from the trio Da Vinci’s Dandies by Heather Wallace of Wellington (Commended); the chic runner up Colour Blind by Dinah & Mark Walker of Auckland; and the more classical but just as wonderful to watch section winner, Sir Lazyboy by Cassandra Bowe of Nelson – the section, choreographed by the irrepressible Taane Mete, is presented among a brilliant unashamedly flamboyant showcase.

Only in this fantastic country of ours could two lesbians personifying Ken Moller & Ken Smythe (no relation), a bunch of dancers dressed like Superman, a gang of tight-bunned wash-board-muscled body builders oiled-to-perfection, and a gaggle of drag queens lip-syncing to Bonnie Tyler’s 80s hit ‘Holding Out For A Hero’ romp beneath an ascending mirror-clad mini which then hangs high above the stage within a cluster of 20 mirror balls … only to be Topped by the yodelling Gingham Girls (a quick change there!) who, like the consummate professionals they are, launch into the audience followed by a wild ensemble of country men, dressed in sequined chaps and cowboys hats and not much else, to seek out willing hoe-down dance partners …

It is thanks to this perfectly timed moment, in the absence of an interval, that we all get to stretch our legs and move about. Yeehaa!

From this wild ride, the hall is alive with the sound of opera music as an oversized cascading shimmering silken gown provides the centrepiece for the Tourism NZ Avante Garde Section, where "art and fashion collide". 2009 Winner Supreme Montana WOW Award & Section Winner, Lady Of The Wood by David Walker of Alaska USA, in an absolute stand out. Four types of wood are woven together to form a graceful gown, which floats round the stage beautifully. Runner up AM I I AM by Rodney Leong of Auckland, inspired by Colin McCahon’s work, showcases intricate craft and dedication to detail. Similarly, winner of the Wellington International Award & Commended in this section, Saddle Up, by Mary Wing To, of the United Kingdom, is a stunningly detailed work of leather, silk and human hiar.

As I try to take in the exquisite beauty of each, I am reminded that each garment represents the talent, skill and artistic vision of its creator as well as time-consuming blood sweat and tears. To each of the 165 dedicated designs – I salute you and thank you for taking the time to contribute to this iconic experience.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


[ii] WOW PR material



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