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WOW focus on environment

As World of WearableArt show prepares for its 2016 grand finale on October 9 – after a two-week spectacular – Good celebrates this year’s highlights.

‘Grandeer’ was the winner of the Sustainability Award

The environment was a focus at this year’s show with a Sustainability Award as part of the line-up. This award is for the designer who is concerned about protecting the environment and uses materials that would otherwise be discarded.

Bernise Milliken of Clevedon, Auckland was the winner of the Sustainability Award for her beautiful wearable art entry ‘Grandeer’, which also placed third in the Wellington Airport Aotearoa Section.

Majestic to the New Zealand forest but uncontrolled is a threat to our fauna and flora.

Milliken used doilies, tea towels, beads and fabric – materials used from childhood memories – to create Grandeer. The glass beads represented an image of a deer sand-blasted on the glass doors of her uncle’s house, which she dislikes but makes her smile. She also put New Zealand birds and plants all over the deer to represent how the deer could endanger their survival.

“The deer is such a wonderful grand animal, but numbers need to be controlled or we will lose our ancient New Zealand forests, birds and wildlife,” Milliken says.

The supreme winner of this year’s awards went to Nelson’s Gillian Suanders for ‘Supernova’.

The supreme winner of this year’s WOW awards went to Nelson designer Gillian Saunders for her entry Supernova. Not only did Saunders take out the Brancott Estate Supreme WOW Award but she also won the David Jones Avant Garde Section.

Supernova is Saunders 16th garment entered into the competition since 2000 and her ninth award.

For Supernova she was inspired by Thierry Mugler’s famous Chimera dress, a sea monster fin of the Hippocampus in movie Percy Jackson and NASA images from space. The large gems on the costume represent new stars being born and the dark shadows represent deep space. Each scale was individually cut, shaded with marker pens and then hand-sewn onto the garment, and gems glued on by hand.

This latest spectacular from WOW continues a wonderful, spell-bindingly magical theatrical experience that brings together an abundance of creativity. A concept brought to life 28 years ago by Dame Suzie Moncrieff.

The rules of the competition mean that anything that is in any way wearable can find a place on stage, as long as it is original, beautifully designed and well-made. This also results in garments that are constructed from an extraordinary array of materials, pushing the boundaries of expectation.

If you missed this year’s show, mark it out in your diary for next year. And in the meantime take a trip to Nelson to visit the World of WearableArt and Classic Car Museum where you can view award winning garments from past competitions up close.

WOW also has a travelling international exhibition which is currently showing at Seattle’s EMP Museum until January 2017.

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